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Encryption and Liberty: Prices Will Fall

Written by Gary North on November 21, 2013

If the NSA cannot crack the code your email provider uses, you get liberty.

Most people don’t care. If they did, they would pay for encryption. Hardly anyone does.

But the free market will still provide it, as a kind of “extra bonus.” Companies will provide it for free, the way that late-night TV ads pile on free bonuses if you act now, and call a toll-free phone number.

The head of Google predicts that within a decade, encryption will foil government attempts to monitor what people write or say. If true, that would mean the Google and other sources of unencrypted data would not supply the government with back-door ways into encrypted data. I am all for it. But, as Reagan said, “trust, but verify.”

The key to encryption is ease of use. The public will not climb any mountains of frustration to gain privacy. It will have to be seamless. It will have to be automatic, or close to it. It will have to involve no decisions from the users. We have seen that most people really don’t care about the loss of privacy. That’s why the NSA still gets its secret budget cleared by Congress. If Edward Snowden had not blown the whistle and revealed it — $52.6 billion a year — Congress would not have known. It is a black-ops budget.

Over time, the governments will lose their ability to survey people’s Internet communications. The decentralized technologies of encryption will surpass the centralized technologies of snooping. The cost of snooping will rise. The cost of encryption will fall. The good news is that government agencies will fall behind. Decentralization will win. The head of Google thinks so. I do, too.

Early adopters will take advantage of this first. Hopefully, the snoopers will waste resources going after these people, leaving them less money and less manpower to monitor the rest of us. Here is the government’s motto: “Honest people have nothing to hide.” So, they will try to crack the encryption programs of early adapters, who will be suspected of trying to hide something. This means that the non-adapters will gain a benefit: reduced likelihood of being monitored by a real, live human being.

Encryption is good. I hope its price continues to fall.

Continue Reading on www.bloomberg.com

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6 thoughts on “Encryption and Liberty: Prices Will Fall

  1. As one of those early adopters, I'm still chuckling about reactions from my friends when I told them that "someone is monitoring my encrypted email". They ask me 'why do you encrypt a lunch invitation?' I say "because I can."

    I've said that everyone will use encryption when my mom can use it. I think that my mom is smarter and more adept than your average terrorist, which also implies that terrorists don't use encryption (yet). Ultimately this means that all the people that the NSA is monitoring, are not terrorists.

    Maybe they monitor me for the same reason that I use the stuff: because THEY can. Yet "I can" because I am a free person and have the right to do so. And "they can" because they follow the rule of the liberal, which is "do it until you get caught".

  2. Actually, it's been free for some time for email. Install Thunderbird (open source) with the Enigma plugin (open source). It implements GPG (open source).

    There's virtually zero chance of any built-in back doors. There is also virtually zero chance GPG can be broken by NSA or any of the other creepy three-letter agencies paid to spy by the USG.

  3. Check out the DarkMail open source protocol under development: http://darkmail.info/

  4. When my wife and I were overseas we were told to use an encrypted email provider so that the gov couldn't monitor our communications with home, etc. We chose Swissmail, a swiss-based provider which provides 124-bit encryption coming and going, and is ad-free. It costs $35/yr and is worth every penny. Check it out. We still use it for personal communication.

  5. Econoranter says:

    Odd that Eric Schmidt, a devout Obama supporter in every way, would say anything honest about the hope of Americans avoiding Obama-snooping. I intend to research encryption possibilities and I hope we can overcome the spying of our rulers and maybe even return to constitutional government but the voter/taxpayers would have to take an interest in our country and that doesn't seem likely any time soon.

  6. They don't really care about content that much. They can learn just as much of what they're actually after with metadata analysis: