The post-Snowden digital divide: the ability to understand and use privacy tools

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Ian Clark's long academic paper in the Journal of Radical Librarianship takes a while to get to the point, but when it arrives, it's a very, very good one: in the post-Snowden era, we can no longer address the "digital divide" just by providing access -- we also have to teach people how their online usage is spied on, how that will harm them, and what to do about it. Read the rest

John Oliver on Apple vs FBI and the new crypto wars

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John Oliver continues to deliver the best comedy tech analysis in the business, with an epic rant/explainer that delves into Apple vs FBI and the new crypto wars with scathing wit and deep, technical truth that's made miraculously accessible to a general audience. Read the rest

Obama: cryptographers who don't believe in magic ponies are "fetishists," "absolutists"

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Obama's SXSW appearance included the president's stupidest-ever remarks on cryptography: he characterized cryptographers' insistence that there is no way to make working cryptography that stops working when the government needs it to as "phone fetishizing," as opposed to, you know, reality. Read the rest

If the FBI can force decryption backdoors, why not backdoors to turn on your phone's camera?

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Eddy Cue, Apple's head of services, has warned that if the FBI wins its case and can force Apple to produce custom software to help break into locked phones, there's nothing in principle that would stop it from seeking similar orders for custom firmware to remotely spy on users through their phones' cameras and microphones. Read the rest

Using distributed code-signatures to make it much harder to order secret backdoors

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Cothority is a new software project that uses "multi-party cryptographic signatures" to make it infinitely harder for governments to order companies to ship secret, targeted backdoors to their products as innocuous-looking software updates. Read the rest

Help wanted: Simply Secure is hiring an ops person!

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Simply Secure is a nonprofit whose advisory board I volunteer for; they're devoted to making usable, human-centered interfaces to privacy tools that anyone can use, and they're hiring. Read the rest

Racial justice organizers to FBI vs Apple judge: crypto matters to #blacklivesmatter

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Phenomena like the Harlem Cryptoparty demonstrate the connection between racial justice and cryptography -- civil rights organizers remember that the FBI spied on and blackmailed Martin Luther King, sending him vile notes encouraging him to kill himself. Read the rest

Apple vs FBI: The privacy disaster is inevitable, but we can prevent the catastrophe

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My new Guardian column, Forget Apple's fight with the FBI – our privacy catastrophe has only just begun, explains how surveillance advocates have changed their arguments: 20 years ago, they argued that the lack of commercial success for privacy tools showed that the public didn't mind surveillance; today, they dismiss Apple's use of cryptographic tools as a "marketing stunt" and treat the proportionality of surveillance as a settled question. Read the rest

As Apple fights the FBI tooth and nail, Amazon drops Kindle encryption

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Amazon's Kindle devices run a custom version of Android that, until today, supported full-disk encryption. Now they don't. Read the rest

ISIS opsec: jihadi tech bureau recommends non-US crypto tools

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The US government is attempting to force Apple to backdoor its Iphone security, congress is considering mandatory backdoors for all secure technology, and FBI director James Comey insists that this will work, because there's no way that America's enemies might just switch over to using technology produced in other countries without such mandates. Read the rest

Today, Congress finally showed it's willing to fight the FBI on encryption

FBI Director James Comey arrives for a House Judiciary hearing on "The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy" on Capitol Hill in Washington March 1, 2016. REUTERS

It took a while, but FBI director Jim Comey got a little bit of the grilling he has earned in the FBI vs. Apple case. Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm writes on today's House Judiciary Committee hearings on Capitol Hill, at which both the government and the Cupertino tech giant were represented.

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#FBIvsApple could lead to "virtually limitless" surveillance powers, warns judge in iPhone case

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What's at stake in the fight between the FBI and Apple over those iPhones? Oh, no big deal, just the legal green light for “virtually limitless” surveillance under the Internet of Things. That's what a federal judge has ruled in an order rejecting a government request in a New York drug case.

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Apple-FBI crypto hearing was surprisingly hostile to FBI Director James Comey

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The House Judiciary committee hearing today titled, “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy” ended up being full of drama, and riveting moments of confrontation--along with a cavalcade of inept analogies for encryption and hardware security.

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Watch it live: U.S. Senate floor speeches on proposed Digital Security Commission

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From the camp of two lawmakers who recently introduced Senate legislation to establish “an independent National Commission on Security and Technology Challenges,” news that Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) will join their Senate colleagues in discussing the legislation on the Senate Floor. You can watch it live, and you should. Today at 3pm ET/12pm PT.

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FBI claims it has no records of its decision to delete its recommendation to encrypt your phone

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Two years ago, the FBI published its official advice to "protect your mobile device," including a recommendation to encrypt your storage. This year, the FBI is suing Apple to force it to break its encryption. Read the rest

Math denialism: crypto backdoors and DRM are the alternative medicine of computer science

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My latest Guardian column, The FBI wants a backdoor only it can use – but wanting it doesn’t make it possible, draws a connection between vaccine denial, climate denial, and the demand for backdoors in secure systems, as well as the call for technologies that prevent copyright infringement, like DRM. Read the rest

U.S. lawmakers expected to introduce major encryption bill

L: House Homeland Security Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX). R: Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)

Two lawmakers are reported to be planning to unveil details of a major encryption bill Wednesday, as the FBI's battle with Apple continues and a debate grows over what role government should play in regulating technology.

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