24 September 2007


There are a lot of people afraid of the widespread use of cryptography.
Why? What are their concerns? What is the logic of their arguments behind attempting to restrict, or outright ban the use of cryptography?
The primary reason that is given time and time again is that, with the use of strong cryptography, law enforcement will lose the edge of wire taps, using information found on computers and gaining information about crimes from emails in their efforts to prevent and prosecute crimes.
These are legitimate concerns. They sound like compelling arguments. They sound logical. They only fall completely apart when looked at from the reality of two points.
First, all these points assume that the United States is the only, or at least the best place to acquire cryptography. If that were true, then we could curtail the use by terrorists and criminals of crypto simply by outlawing it, and enforcing those laws.
Oh sure; a few bad guys would find a way to get a hold of it, but for the most part, national and local law enforcement agencies would have their investigations and prosecutions unhindered by the inability to collect or use information because it was hidden behind unbreakable cryptography.
The problem is that really good cryptography is available worldwide. Since the Americans are not the only ones that want it, they're not the only ones creating it. Even if were completely illegal inside the US, it is still readily available all over the rest of the world.
Which brings us to the second reason the anti-crypto laws make absolutely no sense. I have yet to hear of a law that Al Queida, or the drug cartels or child pornographers gave a damn about. The same thinking is trying to take all guns away from Americans. Machine guns have been illegal for decades, yet they are still the weapon of choice for dope dealers and terrorists.
All these laws do is disarm law abiding citizens, and make them easier targets for the criminals. Then, in an effort to protect themselves from the REAL criminals, the average citizen has to BECOME a criminal, and go get a gun, and/or cryptography.
Without strong crypto, identity theft will become even more rampant. Fraud and other information crimes will flourish because people can't protect their information from the real criminals. So they download some from Germany or France or Brazil, and become themselves a criminal just for having it.
That is my opinion. What are your thoughts?

09 September 2007


A Crypto Contest
Do you enjoy cryptograms? Western States Creations is holding a contest. The current winner gets their name and photo published on the web. A lot of fun for those that enjoy challenging their brains. Nothing to buy. Just some fun.
The winner of the next contest, due to start 9/15/'07, gets a prize worth over $150.00.
Check it out at: http://westernstatescreations.com/cryptochallenge/crypto_contest.html. Be sure to visit the adds and sponsor links, too. Without them, they (WSC) couldn't bring you the contest.
Looking for more crypto games? check out: http://www.darkrockstudios.com/decrypt/public/.
It's plugged as:"The game will teach you to crack real ciphers by hand. Then you will have to follow clues through the virtual internet to find encrypted communications and decipher them as you try to solve a mystery."
It's in beta now, but looks like it could be a blast.
Is Microsoft in bed with the NSA? Read this and decide for yourself.
http://www.hackwatch.com/cryptography.html. Another good article can be found at: http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9909/03/windows.nsa.02/. This is why I advocate Open Source. Personally, I never did trust Mr. Gates. I thought the movie "The Net" was a wake-up call for anyone using encrypted operating systems.
The Chinese Invasion
Pet food. Toothpaste. Toys. Clothes.
We are being overwhelmed by poisons from China. Is it a conspiracy, or just a long series of idiotic mistakes from the well-meaning but misunderstood People's Republic of China? You decide!
After Del Monte, Nestle, Menu, Diamond and a host of other pet food manufactures found a deadly toxin in their products. (get complete list here: http://www.fda.gov//oc//opacom//hottopics//petfood.html) the recall frenzy began.
The poison was in the wheat glutin, which the Chinese government denies ever shipping to us. See: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/05/business/gluten.php
Next came poison toothpaste, Barbie and other toys and even clothes. See: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1420022007 and http://www.thestate.com/business/story/168102.ht.
Why would they ship out a few tainted products, which are bound to be discovered and to their own financial detriment? Is it a conspiracy? Let's examine the possibilities.
The Chinese are known for their patience. They have weathered isolation for hundreds of years, and probably feel that they could survive a few more, if necessary.
Right now, the US imports over 70% of our toys from China. If a couple of million get recalled due to lead paint, how many still made it to our children to give them lead poisoning, and the associated behavioral problems, learning disabilities and growth retardation. These problems won't have any real affect on the country as a whole for 20 to 30 years. Then, if enough of our children are "slow", we could have an entire generation that can be led and manipulated by the PRC. The toothpaste, clothes and pet food COULD be tests to determine the most viable method of introducing lead and other mind dumbing chemicals.
Or, it could all be just a big mistake. What's your opinion?

08 September 2007

First thoughts

This is my first attempt at a blog. Let's face it; I'm an old geezer and not too checked out with all this new fangled technology. So why even attempt it?
Two reasons.
First, my son, Michael, and I have started an on-line art dealership called WesternStatesCreations.com, and we needed a method of getting the word out to folks that there is a different way to buy and sell art. A lot of people don't realize that local, not-well-known artisans create beautiful works. What was needed was a place to display and sell them so that folks such as your self could access some great art works without having to travel every back road in the country.
With that in mind, I thought I would use this as a way to bring a little light on to the creations of these artists, of which I am one.
Which brings me to the second reason for this muse. You may have noticed the title of this page: Conspiracies 'n Crypto. I am a poet and writer, and, if you read some of my work on the site like "Standing, After the Fall", you will see that I am rather opinionated.
I do believe that conspiracies exist. As I read yesterday; a conspiracy is, by definition, more than one person. Not necessarily a megacorp or government. Just 2 or more people deciding to do something illegal, immoral or fattening.
I don't wear a tinfoil hat, and I don't believe that aliens had a damn thing to do with JFKs assassination. I don't think the CIA is causing hurricanes to weaken foreign countries.
I do believe that people with power do things to maintain and/or increase that power. I do believe that some of the things they do are not in yours and my best interest and that, as such, those powerful people do their best to hide a lot of things from the rest of us. Those things, folks, are conspiracies.
And the crypto?
We all have a right to privacy. From our neighbors. From criminals. And yes, from our government. I do not believe that any law enforcement agency has the right to read my mail, electronic or otherwise, just in case I might be a criminal. Come up with some evidence first. Then go to a judge and get a warrant.
I hear people say "I don't have anything to hide". Then take down all your curtains and doors. Let EVERYONE see EVERYTHING. You won't do that. You expect; no, demand some privacy.
By the way, if anyone would like to post their public keys here, please feel free. I am not a "Trusted Third Party", and cannot vouch for anyone, but you can get your keys out through this blog (strange word).
So let's hear what you think!