cryptography is another “conspicuously display shit that is instrumental in crime, protest innocent law-abiding citizenship when pinched, fantasize vividly about life as an outlaw otherwise” thing, and it definitely was in the nixon administration too, and it not being embedded in the RPG tradition is sort of weird
"Instrumental in crime"? Wow, are you nuts?
1.) You, personally, use cryptography every time you click on a link that starts with
https. In order to make this post, you had to log into tumblr using the login form, which is encrypted. You fucking criminal. Go to jail.
2.) Criminal conspiracies almost always take place in face to face meetings. Every other communication method has less emotional bandwidth, which is critical if youse tryin to tell iffa other guy is a snitch, see? Face to face meetings are impossible to wiretap, and are expensive and difficult to covertly surveil.
3.) Strong crypto is a usability nightmare, and always has been. Even if you get everything perfectly right, one mistake can completely compromise your security. Just by involving computers at all hugely increases yourattack surface.
Criminals neither need nor want cryptography. How do we know? Well, the government tells us so.
We now know that there were at least 3194 criminal wiretaps last year (1207 of these were by federal law enforcement and 1987 were done by state and local agencies). The previous year there were only 2376 reported, but it isn’t clear how much of this increase was due to improved data collection in 2010. Again, this is only “Title III” content wiretaps for criminal investigations (mostly drug cases); it doesn’t include “pen registers” that record call details without audio or taps for counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations, which presumably have accounted for an increasing proportion of intercepts since 2001. And there’s apparently still a fair bit of underreporting in the statistics. So we don’t really know how much wiretapping the government actually does in total or what the trends really look like. There’s a lot of noise among the signals here.
But for all the noise, one interesting fact stands out rather clearly. Despite dire predictions to the contrary, the open availability of cryptography has done little to hinder law enforcement’s ability to conduct investigations.
But not so fast: the latest wiretap report identifies a total of just six (out of 3194) cases in which encryption was encountered, and that prevented recovery of evidence a grand total of … (drumroll) … zero times. Not once. Previous wiretap reports have indicated similarly minuscule numbers.
Really, the only people who have a reason to dislike cryptography are NSA agents and other shills and lackeys of the military-industrial complex, likeTrustwave. They hate and fear ubiquitous crypto because it makes mass surveillance hader.
I really question your motives, here. Adopting the opinions of the ruling class, which are directly opposed to your own interests, eh? Sounds like petite bourgeois striving to me!