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    23 Mar 2016

    Before We Even Know The Details, Politicians Rush To Blame Encryption For Brussels Attacks

    You may remember that, right after the Paris attacks late last year, politicians rushed in todemonize encryption as the culprit, and to demand backdooring encryption before the blood was even dry. Of course, it later turned out that there was no evidence that they used encryption at all, but rather it appears that they communicated by unencrypted means. Just yesterday, we noted that the press was still insisting encryption was used, and using the lack of any evidenceas evidence for the fact they must have used encryption (hint: that's not how encryption works...). 

    So, it should hardly be a surprise that following this morning's tragic attacks in Brussels that have left dozens dead and many more injured, that encryption haters, based on absolutely nothing, have rushed in to attack encryption again. The first up was Rep. Adam Schiff, who quickly insisted that he had no actual facts on the matter, but we should be concerned about encryption:

    “We do not know yet what role, if any, encrypted communications played in these attacks,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

    “But we can be sure that terrorists will continue to use what they perceive to be the most secure means to plot their attacks,” he added.
    Schiff, of course, is the same guy who just a few months ago was loudly promoting CISA, saying we needed it to protect our privacy from hackers. Of course CISA doesn't do that. You know what does? Encryption. The very encryption Schiff now wants to blame. 

    Not one to be left out, Senator Dianne Feinstein jumped in with a thinly veiled statement in support of her supposedly soon to be released bill, mandating backdoors in encryption:

    “We must use all the tools at our disposal to fight back,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and vice chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement on Tuesday. “The way to prevent attacks like this is to develop good intelligence and always be vigilant.”
    "All the tools" likely means including her plans to break encryption. 

    And, of course, the many in the press are no help at all. There have been reports that a talking head on NPR blamed encryption this morning, while a NY Times reporter, Rukmini Callimachi -- who was the lead reporter on that ridiculous article yesterday insisting that the lack of encryption was evidence of encryption -- is tweeting up a storm claiming that ISIS is now encouraging the use of encryption, even though the questionably-sourced document she links to (which is written in English?!?) isn't actually recommending encryption, but things like Tor and VPNs, which are designed to merely mask your IP address.

    It's like she sees encryption in absolutely anything. Meanwhile, as a number of other commenters have pointed out, if "ISIS brothers" actually follow the advice in that document, it will only likely help them get caught, as a sudden and abrupt change in behavior is a pretty good way for law enforcement to make you a suspect. And, really, encouraging people to jump onto tools like Tor that they don't understand, but which they think will keep them safe, almost certainly will lead to ridiculously bad implementations that make it easier to spot what they're doing. 

    Read More:https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160322/11200133982/before-we-even-know-details-politicians-rush-to-blame-encryption-brussels-attacks.shtml
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