Snowden’s Crypto-Ploy: An Answer to JYA (and lifehacking/brain and sleep, NSA/tech company denials)

Lifehacking: So it turns out that sleep deprivation, at least briefly, is a very effective antidepressant. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/11/07/1317010110.abstract

This makes sense to me. Unduly long term sleep depression is not good, of course, but having experimented with all kinds of crazy sleep schedules and techniques — I can say that subjectively, going 24 hours without sleep after a few weeks of being fully rested can be invigorating. Particularly when combined with exercise, it feels like clearing out the pantry and wiping down the shelves, essentially like forcing the body to make use of (and get rid of) those old, stale energy reserves in the back which normally never get used.

As for the main attraction?

In an email to the cypherpunks list — after getting it wrong that Snowden’s crew marked Skype as trustworthy, even Greenwald fingered Skype as toast — JYA raises a worthwhile question:

“Is there any indication Snowden has deployed less vulnerable protections which have not been disclosed as backing for his encouragement to trust encryption…?”

The answer to this is a resounding YES.

In a piece on Laura Poitras[1] which I covered back in August, it was revealed that Snowden’s use of PGP was just an appetizer. It seems he only trusted that program verrry briefly, just long enough to tell Poitras how to use something even more secure.

That “more secure” option still remains secret, and I wonder if Snowden is intentionally keeping it secret from amateurs and non-Americans alike in the interest of US “national security.”

Also, speaking of Snowden, it turns out the US tech companies were all lying when they so angrily denied knowing about PRISM’s data collection. Anyone surprised? Anyone? Didn’t think so…
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/19/us-tech-giants-knew-nsa-data-collection-rajesh-de

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/magazine/laura-poitras-snowden.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 16:52:00 -0400
From: John Young
To: coderman , cpunks Subject: Skype and Crypto Pushed by Snowden a Ploy?

In connection with using “encrypted, secure connection” Skype for Snowden’s imagery at SXSW and TED, as well as encrypted comms with journalists and event organizers, what has led these comsec advisors to believe that all too vulnerable Skype is secure, as well as all too vulnerable popular crypto pushed for journalists?

Is there any indication Snowden has deployed less vulnerable protections which have not been disclosed as backing for his encouragement to trust encryption and to allow Skype to
finger his location and leak his comms?

To be sure, many of his remarks seem to be carefully scripted for low-brow consumption characteristic of journalism. So there may be a secure back-channel being used with Skype and pop
crypto as diversion.

The low-brow slides, clips, short docs, redactions released by the media point to a deception of some sort yet to be disclosed until 25 years has passed. Hyperventilating press accounts of the
releases suggest either deception, inexperience or technical ignorance or all.

Still, that kind of misleading comsec deception would be commonplace security measures characterisitic of NSA and wizards — to induce the flock to churn massive amount publicity about encrypted comms — and Skype — to camouflage the Tor, blacker and deeper comms, not to say the even blacker and deeper tools not seen by Snowden or not yet released.

More sopisticated would be to use the small amount of NSA releases to cloak far greater distribution (a method used by WikiLeaks and the black market as well as the spy industry). That too would closer to what the big boys and girls do, and therefore would be exactly what they are watching for. Including watching for ploys to hide ploys.

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