Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘national security’ Category

The Ghost Chatters

leave a comment »

The British sigint intelligence GCHQ is listening, and apparently they want to listen some more.

Potentially, to your encrypted chats.

So a group of 47 companies and institutions have come out firmly against a proposal by the G-men to eavesdrop on encrypted messages.

In an open letter that was published on Lawfare, The Verge writes, “the companies say that the plans would undermine security, threaten trust in encrypted messaging services, and ultimately endanger citizens’ right to privacy and free expression.”

The proposal from GCHQ was first published last November as part of a series of essays, and does not necessarily reflect a legislative agenda from the intelligence agency at this point. In the essay, two senior British intelligence officials argue that law enforcement should be added as a “ghost” participant in every encrypted messaging conversation.

So basically, intelligence firms would be CCed on your encrypted messages without any of the chatters knowing there was a “ghost” in the chat.

I foresee a full-on battle royale over privacy and encryption vs. national security and eavesdropping headed our way, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Be really interesting to see how this plays out for Facebook, which owns leading encrypted messaging firm WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (both of which would be likely targets for the ghost chatters), just as Mark Zuckerberg attempts to pivot Facebook towards a more private messaging-oriented firm (I remain skeptical there’s a viable business model there, and certainly not one nearly as robust as the one that maximizes the exploitation of user data for advertisers).

Written by turbotodd

May 30, 2019 at 11:06 am

A National 5G?

leave a comment »

The other major IT news looming over this Monday morning centers around a Power Point presentation and memo – both produced by a senior National Security Council official – which were presented recently to senior officials at other agencies in the Trump Administration.

According to a report from Axios, the documents indicate America needs a centralized, nationwide 5G Network within three years, and lays out two options for how such a network would be built and paid for.

One, the US government would pay for and build the single network.

Two, an alternative plan would have wireless providers build their own 5G networks. But Axios goes on to point out that a source familiar with the document drafting says option 2 is really no option at all, because a single centralized network is what’s required to protect America against China and other bad actors .

The Wall Street Journal’s reporting of this story leads by writing that “the threat from China, in particular, justifies a ‘moonshot’ government  effort like the construction of the interstate highway system.”

What happened to a laissez faire, hands-off Republican approach (a la the FCC’s rescinding of the so-called “Net Neutrality” rules?

The answer: National security, natch.

But it may not be that easy for Uncle Sam to do the build:

The problem, according to people working on the White House’s 5G plan, is that the U.S. is almost uniquely ill-suited to build such a national network due to several factors, including an effective oligopoly among telecommunications and cable companies, tight regulations and the lack of indigenous manufacturers. Meanwhile, China is progressing swiftly with its development of 5G, and whoever ends up deploying the technology more quickly will gain a significant competitive advantage, these people say, because 5G is expected to provide the underlying architecture of the global information economy. A national network is a prerequisite for self-driving cars, automated farming and other technologies.
– via WSJ

And yet…

Some in the White House have concluded that the only path forward for the U.S. is to build a single network because multiple networks wouldn’t have enough bandwidth. The current debate is focused on whether the government should build the network or if a private consortium of companies should get together to build it, according to people familiar with the discussions. The plans being discussed at the White House are only focused on midband 5G technology—officials always planned to leave private- industry players to build their own low- and high-band 5G, which is where most of the margins are, these people said. Officials had been planning soon to begin formal outreach to industry players to gauge their interest.
– via WSJ

We may be in uncharted bandwidth here…

Written by turbotodd

January 29, 2018 at 10:42 am

%d bloggers like this: