Snowden at SXSW

Woohoo, found a transcript.

So basically Snowden’s view is we should role the state of state power back about 100 years, to the point where if the government wants to get you they actually have to make an effort to get YOU in particular — rather than having ‘gotten’ everyone by default already.

This is probably a good guideline for what we’ll see in future leaks and what we won’t. (i.e if you think the government is out to get you, don’t wait on a SnowdenLeak to tell you how to defend yourself).

I think the general push towards ‘encrypt everything’ can be seen in a similar light. JYA made an excellent point in this regard in a post to one of the cypherpunk lists, which you’ll forgive me for not citing properly as I can’t be bothered to pull it up right now, to the effect that ALL CRYPTO FAILS EVENTUALLY or something similar. What do we do when our new crypto-utopia goes tits-up?

(Which is not to say I endorse JYA’s bloviating “THEY’RE GETTING RICH! BURN THEM AND RELEASE THE DOCS AT ONCE!” line of late. The best way to change the world is to find a way to make a profit doing it, so I hope Greenwald walks away a billionaire… and I’ve explained before why the “Snowden Trickle” is the most brilliant move since Hannibal and the elephants.)

Anyway, Snowden also makes the argument that Hayden & Alexander are largely responsible for the current state of affairs as they shifted the balance decisively from “defense” to “offense,” decreeing it was better to be able to read other people’s mail than protect their own.

This may be true in the large organizational sense, but I disagree with the practical implementation of it. To believe this is to believe organizations like the NSA haven’t been working to keep effective communications security out of the public hands since their inception… everyone remembers the Clipper chip, the various fights over academic cryptography, etc?

One more critque. Snowden’s favorite evidence for his argument that “encryption works” even if they are out to get you is “they still have no idea you know what – what documents were provided to the journalists, what they have, what they don’t have. ”

This may be so, but my question to Snowden would be — how in blazes do you know?

If there’s one thing I can double-dog guarantee you it’s that if they’ve broken Snowden’s crypto, Barack Obama would paint the White House pink before they let even the tiniest hint of the extent of their knowledge trickle out into anything even resembling the public or Snowden’s (former) circle.

Instead they would continue whining and moaning in public about how stupid they are, how blind they are, how much awful damage Snowden’s done to everything…

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