Ed Felten (previously) -- copyfighter, Princeton computer scientist, former deputy CTO of the White House -- has published a four-and-a-half-page "primer for policymakers" on cryptography that explains how encryption for filesystems and encryption for messaging works, so they can be less ignorant.
It is a remarkable and clear piece of technology writing, perhaps the best example of its type I've ever read. It's clearly the results of explaining the same thing, over and over and over and over again, using trial-and-error to identify the places where the audience gets tripped up, until what remains is a perfectly clear explanation of something that's both difficult to understand and vitally important.
Suppose two users, Alice and Bob, want to send a series of messages to each other. They want to
use encryption to protect the confidentiality of messages (so that nobody else can learn the
contents of messages) and the integrity of messages (so that nobody else can tamper with
messages without detection); and they want to use encryption to authenticate each other, so
they both know they are not communicating with an impostor.
For encrypted communication, each party will generate a long-term identity key, which they
keep secret. A party can use its long-term identity key to prove its identity to other parties.
As depicted below, encrypted communication operates in two phases. In the first phase, the
handshake, the two parties exchange a series of specially constructed messages. If all goes well,
the initial handshake has two results: each party gets confirmation of the other’s identity (i.e.
that the other party is the real Alice or Bob, and not an impostor), and Alice and Bob agree on a
secret session key that is known only to the two of them. The details of how the initial handshake
procedure gets these results are complex but not directly relevant to the policy discussion.
Having completed the initial handshake, Alice and Bob can proceed to send messages to
Nuts and Bolts of Encryption: A Primer for Policymakers [Ed Felten/Princeton]
(via 4 Short Links)
Back in 2016, Naomi Kritzer won the Hugo award for her brilliant, endearing story Cat Pictures Please, in which an AI with an insatiable craving for cat pictures explains its view on the world and the way that it makes humans' lives better; now Kritzer has adapted the story into her new novel, the equally […]
Cecil Castellucci (previously) is a polymath artist: YA novelist, comics writer, librettist, rock star; her latest book, Girl on Film, is an extraordinary memoir of her life in the arts, attending New York's School for the Performing Arts (AKA "The Fame School") and being raised by her parents, who are accomplished scientists.
From the 1950s until the 1980s, Randy and Dotti Smith supplied a line of fantastic cast sculptures sold in Disney theme-park gift shops, especially a line of skulls sold in shops associated with the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean rides; these Randotti skulls haven't been sold in decades, you can still find used ones (at high prices) online, as Boing Boing pal and fabulous illustrator Coop discovered when he sourced an impressive collection of Randotti sculpts.
Vinyl is officially back. People are hearing the proof behind the initial “retro” excitement: that records really do have a richer sound. And if you haven’t switched to old-school records for serious listening, it’s a new golden age. Why? Because quality turntables like the Altec Lansing ALT-500 are finally available to a market other than […]
Between all of our apps, streaming devices, Bluetooth speakers, and energy-sucking decorations, paying for utilities each month can be…brutal. In fact, the average household spends roughly $70 a month on the water bill alone. That number might not seem terribly significant, but when you add it up, that’s $840 a year — a pretty significant […]
Seems like no matter what kind of wireless earbud you buy, you’re sacrificing something: Sound for longevity, battery life for durability, the list goes on. Finally, it seems like the tech is starting to come together for the full package in a few newer models. Case in point: These PaMu Slide Bluetooth 5 In-Ear Headphones. […]