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Episode 8

Jacob Applebaum is a staff research scientist at the University of Washington, and a developer and advocate for the Tor Project, which is an online anonymity system for everyday people to fight against surveillance and against internet censorship. Jacob believes that everybody has the right to read, without restriction, and the right to speak freely, with no exception. In 2010, when Julian Assange couldn’t deliver a talk in New York, Jacob gave the talk instead. Since then, he has been harrassed by the U.S. government: interrogated at airports, subjected to invasive pat-downs while being threatened with prison rape by law enforcement officials, had his equipment confiscated and his online services subject to secret subpoena. Jacob is uncowed by these measures, and remains an outspoken advocate of freedom of expression, and a vocal supporter of WikiLeaks.

Andy Mueller-Maguhn is a long time member of the Chaos Computer Club in Germany, and a former spokesman. He is a specialist on surveillance, working in a journalistic capacity on the surveillance industry with his project wiki, buggedplanet.info. Andy works in cryptographic communications, and runs a company called Cryptophone, which markets secure voice communication devices to commercial clients.

Jeremie Zimmermann is the co-founder and spokesperson for the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, the most prominent European organization defending anonymity rights online and promoting awareness of regulatory attacks on online freedoms. Jeremie works to build tools for the public to use to take part in public debate and to try to change things. He is mostly involved with the copyright wars, the debate around net neutrality and other regulatory issues that are crucial for the future of a free internet. Shortly after sitting for his interview on The World Tomorrow he was stopped by two FBI officers while leaving the United States, and was interrogated about Assange and WikiLeaks.

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Transcript

JA Interview with Cypher Punks

- April 2012 -



[off-camera chat/set up]




JULIAN:

And how was your trip, Jake?



JAKE:

Uneventful. [inaudible] as long as they’re uneventful…



JULIAN:

And since I saw you last time, the Spy Files release? Have you had any problem…?



JAKE:

No, everything’s been fine.



JULIAN:

Yes, I think they have enough bugs now, so they don’t [laughter]



JEREMIE:

The other theory is that once they go home in a suit, even when it is you on the side, they start ‘Oh shit, he’s now with the serious boys. We can’t mess it up with him, like that we did before.’



JULIAN:

Maybe.



JAKE:

Yeah. I mean, they just change tactics.



[crew sets up]



JEREMIE:

This guy should study the spy catalogue. There was decent high-quality cameras to be built in everything – so, small ones to hide in glasses, in coffee cups, in lamps, in parts of the ceiling or whatever…



JULIAN:

My favourite from that is this back-mountable microphone array, and you go into a party and you just face your back to the broad…



JEREMIE:

With 16 microphones, or was it 18 or something?



JULIAN:

Yeah, 32 microphones like this, and then you can pick out individual conversations with the mics…



JAKE:

Wow…



JEREMIE:

And after… a key 3D printer kind of machine.



ANDY:

Yeah, that was very nice because it also shows that [?] is a machine that can make you a key from video footage from a key, so it actually shows that [?] is opposing security because if you have a CCTV situation and you can make a copy of the key just by seeing it, just by having a photo of it, you know.



JULIAN:

Are you selling those?



ANDY:

No. But [inaudible] had that in their catalogue.



JULIAN:

Ready? We have a light situation. It’ll be quite interesting actually because it’s gradually going to get dark, and then we’ll be in the dark a bit.



JEREMIE:

Well, can be whisky time.



JULIAN:

Yeah, and that will be cigars and whisky time… and we have the smoke coming out up through the conspiracy….



JEREMIE:

Ah, good.





[17:22:44.23]
JULIAN:

Ok, so first of all I want to think about how we are going to present it, so the big problem I’ve had is being someone who is steeped in state surveillance and understanding how this transnational security industry has developed over the past twenty years, that I’m too familiar with it, and so I don’t understand how to see this from an outside perspective, from a common man’s perspective. But this area that used to be something that concerned me – and looking at how spy agencies deal with each other – now that everyone has gone onto the internet, this is everyone’s issue, because their whole personal lives are thrown onto the internet. So, perhaps we can speak about, before we start formally, what do you think is a good way of conveying the issue?



[17:23:42.03]
ANDY:

I would… I would have an suggestion – to not look at it from a citizen’s point of view but from a point of view of people in power. The other day when I was at this strange conference in Washington and I met these guys with the badge German embassy, and I approached them and I said ‘Oh, you’re from Germany’, and they said “Ah, not exactly from the embassy, we are new from Munich, blah blah blah’, so it turned out they were from the foreign intelligence and I asked them at the evening buffet, like ‘So what’s the focus to secrecy about?’, and they told me ‘Well, it’s about slowing down processes in order to better control them’, so that’s the core of kind of intelligence work, why the secrecy, which is opposing obviously to our ideas of more transparency and so on, and so if you look at what…



[17:24:28.13]
JULIAN:

[inaudible]
, you know, on internal processes?



[17:24:32.09]
ANDY:

Well, to… to slow down a process by taking the ability of people to understand it, so to do declare things secret means you limit the amount of people who have the needs and are able to affect the process. Um, you know, anyway. So, if you look at the internet from a perspective of people in power, then the last 20 years have been frightening to this… all this… they see the internet like an illness, ok, an illness that affects their ability to define reality, to define what’s going on, then used to define what the people know what is going on and their ability to interact with it. So if you look at, let’s say Saudi Arabia, a country like that, where by some historical accident religious leaders and people owning majority of the country are the same, so their interest of change is like in the zeros. Like zero to minus five, maybe. And when they look at this, they look at it like an illness and they ask their consultants ‘Do you have some medicine against this thing out there, you know, we need to be immune if this affects our country, you know, if this internet thingy comes’, and so the answer is surveillance, is mass surveillance, is ‘Hey, we need to control it totally, we need to filter, we need to know everything what they do’ so they get… and that is what has happened in the last 20 years. There was massive investment in surveillance because people in power feared that it would affect their way of governance, so as a base theory…



JULIAN:

Yeah, yep.



[17:26:19.03]
JEREMIE:

It’s difficult to disassociate surveillance from control. I think we need to address both. And actually that’s more my part, the control of the internet whether it’s from government or corporations, so I don’t know how you consider articulating all that together.



[17:26:35.09]
JAKE:

Yeah, I think it’s pretty clear that censorship is a by-product of surveillance generally speaking, whether it’s self-censorship or actually technical censorship, and I think that important way to convey this to regular people is to do it non-technically. You know, if we, for example, built roads the way that we built, you know, the internet, in modern days with regard to telecommunications every road would have to have surveillance cameras and microphones as basically that no one except the police could access or someone who has pretended to be the police successfully.



[17:27:11.21]
JULIAN:

I’m getting there, Jake, in this country…



[17:27:12.03]
JAKE:

Yeah, and so I mean… that though I think is interesting because when you build a road it is not a requirement that every inch can be monitored with perfect surveillance that is only available to a secret group of people, and I think explaining to everyday people that that is the way that we are building roads on the internet and then requiring people to use those roads – that is something that I think regular people can connect with when they realise that they won’t always have… the builders of the road will not always be the ones in control.



[17:27:41.00]
ANDY:

But some people don’t even build roads. They put like a garden out there and invite everybody to be naked, er… [laughs]
so now we’re talking Facebook.



[17:27:51.22]
JULIAN:

So I say it’s a bit like…



[17:27:53.17]
ANDY:

It’s also a business case to make people comfortable to disclose their data.



[17:27:58.09]
JAKE:

Right. I mean, people were compensated for being in the Stasi and they’re compensated for participating in Facebook. It’s just in Facebook they’re compensated with social credits, to get laid by their neighbour instead of, you know, being paid off directly. And I think it’s important to just relate it to the human aspect, because it’s not about technology, it is about control and control through surveillance. I mean, it’s the perfect Panopticon in some ways.



[17:28:21.07]
JULIAN:

Yeah. When we… if we go back to this time maybe in the early 1990s where you had this rise of the Cypher Punks movement and a lot of people were looking at the power of the internet to provide free uncensored communications compared to mainstream media, but the Cypher Punks always saw that in fact combined with this was also the power to surveil all the communications that were occurring.



[17:28:53.11]
JEREMIE:

Well, back in the days I think people who built the internet and were part of the Cypher Punks, the beginning of the Cypher Punks movement, all understood how the technology was functioning and what it was about. It was before the boom, before the democratisation, so to say, of the internet. Now everybody has this shining grey or metal box that is called the internet and it just works and you click and data flows and so on, and the complexity of this systems have increased so much that even for us experts it is impossible to grasp the whole complexity, the whole functioning of the machines, so there’s been…





[17:29:35.00]
JULIAN:

Give us an example, Jeremie… So, you have Macs….



[17:29:36.16]
JEREMIE:

Well, a Mac… a Mac computer…



[17:29:39.18]
JULIAN:

… telling Apple every 30 minutes where it is…



[17:29:43.13]
JEREMIE:

Just a Mac computer loading a browser, loading Java Script from Facebook and helping the user do something. No computer expert in the world can take this system and say ‘Oh yeah, I guarantee that this millisecond there is not one bit somewhere that is trying to get what you’re typing to send it somewhere or to get some information that you are not aware it is getting’. You cannot monitor, you cannot… you can’t have a control feedback – retro control – over what the machine is doing, and we add the complexity of the hardware and the operating system and all the programmes on top and we make those machines do the more complex – over-built, I think…



[17:30:35.07]
JULIAN:

Do you think this… sorry, I’m… I’m quite interested in the philosophy of technique, and so technique means not just a piece of technology but it means, say, how you vote in a board room or it means a parliament, it’s systematised interaction, and it seems to me for example that feudal systems came from the technique from mills. Once you had a centralised mill, that cost a lot of investment resources to build and someone could dominate that mill physically – physical control it – then it’s quite natural that you start ending up with feudal mills as a direct result. As time’s gone by we seem to have developed increasingly sophisticated techniques, and some of these techniques are techniques that can be democratised, they can be spread to everyone, but in fact the majority of them – because of their complexity – are techniques that form as a result of very strongly interconnected stable organisations like Intel Corporation or semi-conductor manufacturers and so on, and that perhaps the underlying tendency of technique is to go through these periods of discovering technique, centralising technique, democratising technique – when the knowledge about how to do it floods out in the next generation that is educated. But I think that the general tendency for technique is, er, to centralise control in those people who control the physical resources of the technique.



[17:32:16.19]
ANDY:

[inaudible]
When Gutenberg came with the printing machines, actually it was forbidden once in a while in parts of Germany and that’s the way it got spread all over the country because when it was forbid in one they moved to another, like, jurisdiction. It was like local first, then whatever… decentral.



[17:32:37.09]
JULIAN:

Just say that again, Andy. So, the Gutenberg printing press – tell me the story.



[17:32:40.13]
ANDY:

Well, I didn’t study it in all the details but what I know is that they messed up with the Catholic church because they were breaking the monopoly of printing books and once they got into legal trouble they moved on to a place where it was not forbidden and that’s how it… in a way this forbidding it helped to spread it. Where the internet was, I think, slightly different… because on the one hand side you have, yes, product machines – I mean, machines being able to use as a production facility, which even the Commodore 64 was, in a way, where most people used maybe for other purposes – but then there was also…



[17:33:21.16]
JULIAN:

So, each… each little machine that you had you could run your own software.



[17:33:24.08]
ANDY:

Yeah. And you could also use it to distribute ideas, I think…



JULIAN:

Yep.



ANDY:

…and… but the other part of the internet was actually a philosophic part like what John Gilmore said, like: ‘The internet route sends us censorship as a malfunction and routes around it’. As we know, that was kind of wishful thinking and kind of self-fulfilling prophecy and kind of…



[17:33:46.15]
JULIAN:

Well, but it was kind of true for Usenet…



[17:33:47.21]
ANDY:

…kind of… kind of a third thing and that was generating people who understand themselves as the internet.



JULIAN:

Yeah. Right.



ANDY:

So, the internet today is the internetz – you know, as we call it – so, people saying ‘Ok, there’s censorship, we’ll route around it’, where the politician with no technical understanding thought: ‘Oh shit, there’s a new technology’, you know, so some people thought it was like a technical description. So, I think Gilmore did a great job, and he was one of the fore-thinkers of Cypher Punks as we know, so to… to lead things in this direction, which inspired the whole thing of, you know, crypto-anarchistic way of having your own way of communication without fearing that you will be followed up for your… whatever you would express, anonymity and these things.



[17:34:38.20]
JEREMIE:

I see a difference with what we describe as the spreading of technology is that in the case of the mill, like in the case of the printing press, you had to look at one to understand how it works, and now we are increasingly building control inside the technology. The control is built-in. If you look at a modern computer in most cases you cannot even open it to get to know all the components, and all the components are small cases – you cannot know what they are doing, it cost…



[17:35:08.10]
ANDY:

You mean because of the complexity or…?



[17:35:09.19]
JEREMIE:

Because of the complexity and also because the technology itself is made not to be understood. That’s the… the case with proprietary technology, the… Cory [Doctorow]
describes it with… in his, you know, “The War on General Computation”, where a computer is a generic machine, you can do everything with it. You can process any information as an input, transform it into anything as an output, and more and more we’re building devices that are those general-purpose computers restricted to do just GPS or just telephone or just MP3 player, so we are more and more building machines that have, yeah, built-in control, to forbid the user from doing certain things.



[17:35:56.12]
JULIAN:

Well, that’s built-in control to prevent people understanding it and modifying it from the purpose that the manufacturer wanted it for, but we have… we have worse than this now, we have that it’s actually connected up to the network that provides it…



[17:36:08.18]
JEREMIE:

Yeah. And, yeah, and so it can contain function to monitor the user and its data. This is why free software is so important for free society.



[17:36:15.22]
ANDY:

But Jeremie… I totally agree that to stay up with a general-purpose machine but actually this morning when I was trying to fly here from Berlin, the plane actually started and disrupted starting – first time happened to me – and the plane drove to the side and the captain said ‘Oh, we had a failure in electric systems so we decided, you know, stop the approach and we will restart the systems’. So I was actually thinking ‘Oh shit, you know, Control Alt Delete – maybe it works’. So actually, I would not be totally unhappy to have on a plane a single- purpose machine which just does that and does that very well. I’m sitting in a flying machine and I don’t want the guys being distracted by playing Tetris or having Stuxnet or whatever…



[17:37:11.12]
JEREMIE:

Well, the plane doesn’t… The plane by itself doesn’t process your personal data…



JULIAN:

Yep.



JEREMIE:

… it doesn’t have a control over your life.



JAKE:

Well, I think Cory’s… Cory’s argument also says that there are no more…



[17:37:18.01]
ANDY:

Well, flying machine does have control over my life for a…



[17:37:22.00]
JAKE:

Cory’s argument is also, I think, best described by saying that there are no more cars, there are no more airplanes, there are no more hearing aids; there are computers that help you to hear, computers with four wheels, and computers with wings. And part of this is not whether or not they are single purpose or not, it’s whether or not we can verify that they do the thing that they say that they do, and whether or no we understand how well they do, and often people try to argue that they have the right to lock that up and to keep it a secret, and they make them either complex or they make it legally difficult to understand them – and that is actually dangerous for society because we know that people don’t always act in everyone’s best interests, but we also know that people make mistakes – not maliciously – and so locking these things up is very dangerous on a number of levels, not the least of which is that we are all imperfect. I mean, that’s just a fact. And… and so building these machines – I mean, it’s part of why free software is important, but it’s also why free hardware is important – but regardless of freedom, it’s also why it’s important to understand these systems, because when we don’t understand them there’s a general trend to sort of defer to authority on people who do understand them. Which is why we see so much hype about cyber war, it’s that some people that seem to be in the authority about war start talking about technology as if they understand it. I mean, all these people talking about cyber war and not one of them, not a single one, is talking about cyber peace-building – or anything related to peace-building – they’re always talking about war because that’s their business and so they’re trying to rope technology into that, and so when we have no control over our technology these people that wish to use it for… for their ends, for war specifically, that’s a recipe for some pretty scary stuff, which is how I think we ended up with Stuxnet.



[17:38:57.20]
JULIAN:

Do you think… So, I see now that the… there’s now a militarisation of cyber space, because we have interception across all national border points, er…



[17:39:08.18]
ANDY:

Target systems…



[17:39:10.08]
JULIAN:

…and we have militarised computer hackers operating in bulk with programmes to attack sections of the internet and spy on sections of the internet.



[17:39:18.19]
ANDY:

May I oppose about the use of ‘hackers’ in this context?



JEREMIE:

Please. Please do so.



ANDY:

You’re talking about soldiers using computers…



JULIAN:

Soldiers with key loggers



ANDY:

…as military means – this isn’t hacking… and this is not hackers.



JEREMIE:

Yeah…



[17:39:34.12]
JULIAN:

Alright, let’s not go there… let’s not get into a hacker definition. But the point is that we have civilian lives – we don’t see tanks coming into lounge… – well, this may be a special lounge room, actually – but most people don’t see tanks or bugs coming into their lounge room normally, or even down their local road… um, but now we take our personal lives and we put it all… we put it all on Facebook, we communicate using the internet, we communicate using mobile phones, which are now meshed to the internet, and the military has control or the intelligency agencies have control of that data, studying that data, so this is some kind of militarisation of civilian life.



[17:40:15.05]
ANDY:

Absolutely.



[17:40:16.12]
JEREMIE:

I want to raise a procedural point here. Maybe we should take care it doesn’t become too much of geek’s talk and should try to explicate some of the …



JULIAN:

Exactly.



[17:40:25.05]
JAKE:

I have a really good story about this exact same thing.



[17:40:28.18]
JEREMIE:

…explicit some terms, maybe define some terms as we use it.



[17:40:31.11]
JULIAN:

This is what… this is what I was testing, and I see we very quickly go into geek talk so, um, so let’s hear your story, but first – because I’m wary of the light and how this is going to be difficult to edit – can we just introduce you all? So, just one minute introduction…



JAKE:

To introduce ourselves?



JULIAN:

Yeah. Jake?



[17:40:50.11]
JAKE:

Hi, I’m Jacob Applebaum and I’m a research… staff research scientist at the University of Washington, and I’m a developer and advocate for the Tor Project, which is an online anonymity system for everyday people to fight against surveillance and also against internet censorship.



JULIAN:

Andy?



[17:41:07.09]
ANDY:

I’m Andy Mueller-Maguhn, I’m long time working in Chaos Computer Club in Germany, so I’m a bit specialist on surveillance stuff and running a project wiki called buggedplanet.info, about those actings, and I’m also engaged in cryptographic assurance of communications.



[17:41:30.13]
JEREMIE:

I’m Jeremie Zimmermann, I’m the co-founder and spokesperson for the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, we defend anonymity rights online and mostly build tools for citizens to understand projects that attack their freedoms online, and build tools for them to use to take part in the public debate and try to change things. We’re mostly involved with the copyright wars and the debate around net neutrality and other regulatory issues that are crucial for the future of a free internet.



[17:41:59.21]
JULIAN:

Jake, what’s your story?





*!*



[17:42:01.08]
JAKE:

Well, right before I came here I was asked to be a coach for the Pacific Rim Collegiate Cyber Defence competition for the team of University of Washington Security and Privacy Research Laboratory, and so at the very last minute I was asked to be an advisor, so we did some exercises on Friday evening and then Saturday and Sunday we actually contributed quite a lot of time to compete in a cyber… cyber war event where SPAWAR, which is the civilian arm of the US Navy’s pen testing – they played the Red Team…



[17:42:38.18]
JULIAN:

So, pen testing – computer hackers…



[17:42:39.18]
JAKE:

Yeah, so SPAWAR is the civilian arm of the US Navy and they do offensive computer hacking as well as defensive computer hacking, and they played what is generally called the Red Team – so what they do is they attack everybody else that’s playing and every team’s job is to defend their computer systems, which have been given to them at the beginning of … essentially at the beginning of the event with no real foreknowledge at all, so you don’t know what kind of systems you’ll defend and it’s not even clear how the points are scored in the beginning so you just try to do your best and hope.



[17:43:09.13]
JULIAN:

So are you even sure that it’s actually a game?



[17:43:12.02]
JAKE:

yeah, it’s… it’s…



[17:43:14.11]
JULIAN:

Maybe… maybe it’s not a game, maybe the targets are real?



[17:43:17.14]
JAKE:

No, no, you get a bunch of… you just get a bunch of computers and you have to protect them, and they break in and they take over the systems and it’s like… it’s like a kids’ version of Capture the Flag at a real hacker conference or something like that, and it’s… it’s interesting for sure because these guys, you know, they have had a lot of tools, they’ve written software… [inaudible]




[17:43:33.21]
JULIAN:

What’s… what’s the point of it though – from the US Navy’s perspective?



[17:43:36.13]
JAKE:

Well, in their case they’re just sponsoring this because they want to build tomorrow’s cyber warriors today and so, for example, I brought you a notepad from the CIA because they were recruiting. There was a guy named Charlie there – Charlie from the CIA – and er, you know, he was explaining, you know, that if you want to come and join the CIA that this is a great opportunity to work in the real world, and the SPAWAR people were there, and Microsoft was there recruiting and, you know, the idea was to train all of these people, all of these teams, to go on to the National Championship and to, you know, be winners and to, you know, really like defend the nation, and then also to be able to go on to do offensive hacking as cyber warriors, not just cyber defenders. And so we scored something like 4,000 points in this game, which was the combined score of the second place, third place and fourth place teams and we were actually still higher than all of them combined.



[17:44:29.00]
JULIAN:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.



[17:44:28.11]
JAKE:

… and… I know, it wasn’t thanks to me – you know, my motivational quotes were like ‘Hey, it’s always darker straight before it goes pitch black’, you know, and I don’t think I’m particularly good at coaching, these guys are really good… but it was interesting because they… the way that the whole thing was framed was in terms of war, so they would say ‘Hey, we want to hear your war whoop’. It’s like ‘I’m sorry, what?’



[17:44:48.09]
JULIAN:

That’s the motivational…



[17:44:50.04]
JAKE:

So, that’s what they were saying over like lunch, for example, when you’re taking a break from defending your systems, and they framed everything in terms of attacking systems and in terms of war and cyber war and, you know, talking about the greatness of this way of thinking. And interestingly enough, aside from the team that I was working with, I felt like there were a lot of people that were struggling, because they weren’t teaching someone to use the art of war – it was more like the Sysadmin Cup, people who defend systems – and it just felt disgusting to be honest. It just felt like really weird because there’s all these people whose background is in war, and so they come out from the war perspective, but it’s interesting because they’re not teaching strategy, they’re very focused on the technique of defending these systems, or on attacking these systems, and they… they just had so much war in the way that they talked, um, and they were really trying to rile people up into sort of patriotic, you know, fervour, you know, it just… I had never experienced it before.



[17:45:46.03]
JULIAN:

Do you think that that’s standard US Navy training, and they’re just now trying to apply it to another domain? So, is it like a top-down US cyber command decision – international strategic decision – by the United States so that it…



[17:46:03.22]
ANDY:

More like the Nazis who had those youth camps where the kids also learned in a supportive way to start…



[17:46:11.08]
JAKE:

Sie konnen sagan weil du bist Deutsch, you know. You can say that because you’re a German.



[17:46:13.21]
ANDY:

Well, you know, hey….



[17:46:14.05]
JAKE:

No, it’s not like that. I mean, what these guys are doing is they’re experimenting with trying to understand that the US Navy’s involvement is just because the US government is sponsoring all this stuff, you know. They asked me to coach because basically they needed someone there to do this coaching and I just agreed because I liked the guys involved, you know, these undergrads. But, I mean, really what it comes down to is that the US government is really, you know, trying to push getting people into this and they’re trying to push from the perspective of nationalism, and it’s… it’s a very strange, I mean, it’s a very, very strange event to be at because on the one hand, it’s good to be able to know how to keep your system safe and it’s good to understand the infrastructure that all of our lives rely on, but on the other hand, they weren’t trying to convince people to understand it, they were trying to whip them up into a sort of fervour in order to make them happy to do this type of work…



JULIAN:

Yep.



JAKE:

… and it was really… it was really on the edge of some… something.



[17:47:10.09]
ANDY:

Unfortunately, the interests of the States to keep systems secure is totally limited because they want systems to be vulnerable in order to take over control, apply [indecipherable?]
and send them on, so…



[17:47:24.05]
JULIAN:

Andy, you’ve studied for years cryptographic telephones, secure phone calls, how to… what sort of mass surveillance is occurring in relation to telecommunications, tell me is what is the state of the art as far as the government intelligence bulk surveillance industry is concerned?



[17:47:46.17]
ANDY:

Well yes, mass storage – meaning, um, storing all telecommunication has become…



[17:47:56.07]
JULIAN:

So that’s all voice calls and…?



[17:47:58.06]
ANDY:

Yeah, all voice calls, all traffic data, any how groups consume the short message service, but also internet connections, in some situations at least limited to email and so on. Actually, what you have to see is the… if you compare the military budget to the cost of surveillance and the cost also of cyber warriors, normal weapon systems cost a lot of money – if you compare that to cyber warriors or to mass surveillance like, that is very cheap, that is super- cheap compared to just one aircraft. One military aircraft costs you between…



[17:48:35.11]
JULIAN:

A hundred million, yeah.



[17:48:36.00]
ANDY:

Yeah? So, um, and for that money, and storage gets more cheap every year, so you can have… Actually, we made some calculations: you get a decent voice-quality storage of all German telephone calls for about 30 millions including administrative overhead, so the pure storage is about 8 million euro.



[17:48:58.13]
JULIAN:

And there’s even companies like VASTech in South Africa that are selling these systems, they sell them for 10 million dollars per year. ‘We’ll intercept all your calls…’



ANDY:

Or we’ll install your system…



JULIAN:

…we’ll store all your intercepted calls en masse… but there’s… there’s been a shift in the last few years from…



ANDY:

Targeting to…



JULIAN:

… strategic interception, which is you intercept everything and then you pick particular things that you want to record, er… a shift from intercepting everything going across from one country to another and picking out the particular people you want to spy on and listening to them and getting them… assigning them to human beings, to now intercepting everything and storing everything permanently.



[17:49:46.23]
ANDY:

Yeah well, to explain it in the historical lane roughly, in the old days someone was a target because of his diplomatic position, because of the company he worked in, because he was suspect of doing something or maybe he was in contact with people who actually did something, and then you applied surveillance measures on him. These days it’s declared much more efficient to say ‘Well, we take everything and we can sort it out later’, so they do have long-term storage, and the main… like, way of describing the industry’s two chapters is indeed the tactical approach – tactical means like, ‘Right now, in this meeting, we need to bug the place, we need to get someone in with a microphone, array jacket…’, or ‘We need this or that’, or also to have GSM surveillance systems, like in a car, deployed, being able to intercept right away what the people are speaking without needing to interfere with the network operator, get a police search warrant or anything like that – no legal procedure required, just do it – and the strategic one, which is just do it by default – just record everything, sort it out later.



[17:51:00.15]
JULIAN:

So that’s…



[17:51:01.18]
ANDY:

Analytic systems sorting out the stuff.



[17:51:02.22]
JULIAN:

So, strategic interception is take everything that a telecommunication satellite is relaying, take everything across a fibre-optic cable…[inaudible]




[17:51:10.17]
ANDY:

Because you never know when someone is a suspect, you know…



[17:51:13.21]
JAKE:

There’s a thing called the NSA AT&T case in the United States – the second, in Folsom – Mark Klein exposed that the NSA was capturing all of the data that they could get AT&T to give them, and they just took it all wholesale, so that’s data as well as voice calls, so every time I picked up the phone in San Francisco, every time I connected to the internet in San Francisco during this time period which Mark Klein has exposed, we know that the NSA on US soil… on US soil against US citizens, they were just getting it all. And I mean, I’m pretty sure they have used that intercept data in the investigation that they’ve been doing against people in the United States, which raises all kinds of interesting constitutional issues because they get to keep it forever.



[17:51:55.12]
JEREMIE:

Yeah, but there are two questions here. We also have this example of Eagle, the system sold by the French company Amesys that was sold to Gadaffi’s Libya, and on the document, you know, the commercial document it was written ‘nationwide interception mechanism’. It’s a big box that you put somewhere and you just listen to all your people communications, so we can discuss about the technology and I’m interested very much by that…



[17:52:24.20]
JULIAN:

And this… 10 years ago this was seen to be a fantasy, this was seen to be something only paranoid people believed in, but the costs of doing it have now decreased to the point where even countries like Libya with relatively few resources was doing it with French technology.



[17:52:43.01]
JEREMIE:

Exactly. So now that’s a fact. Technology enables total surveillance of every communication. Then there is the other side of that coin, is what we do with it. We could admit that for what you call the tactical one, there are some… indeed, some legitimate use – investigators investigating bad guys and networks of bad guys and so on may need, under the supervision of the judicial authority, to be able to use such… such tools, but the question is, yeah, where to draw this judicial supervision, where to draw the control that the citizens can have over the use of those technologies. And this is a policy issue. And when we get to those policy issues – and we were evoking that earlier – you have politicians that are asked to just sign something and don’t understand the underlying technology, and I think that us as citizens have a role, not only to explain how the technology functions at large including to politicians, but those also to wade in the political debates that surrounds the use of those technologies. I know that in Germany there was a massive movement against generalised data retention that led to the overturn of the law in front of the constitutional court. There is a debate going on in the EU about revising the directive but, er, not big hope that, er…



[17:54:04.10]
ANDY:

The trouble is that with the… what you are describing with the theory of the democratic state that, of course, does need to here and there filter out some bad guys and listen to their phone calls on the basis of, you know, a court making a decision and someone overviewing if it’s done the proper way, and so that the authorities need to act in compliance with the law. If they don’t do that, you know, what are they good for? But the trouble is that, especially with this tactical approach, so they are buying massively – democratic states within Europe buying massively – machines that allow them to act exactly out of the law in the sense of lawful interception because they don’t need a court decision, they can just switch it on and do it, and it can’t be controlled this technology…



[17:54:48.09]
JULIAN:

But do you think that… you know, that there’s two sort of approaches to dealing with mass State surveillance, and one is you enact democratic controls through the law to make sure people must have warrants and so on – and it seems, you can say, a priority that bulk strategic interception cannot be any part of that, because it intercepts everyone regardless of whether they’re innocent or guilty. And then there’s the policy approach… sorry, the policy approach – that you regulate that, you try to regulate it and make some regulatory accountability, but isn’t the technology… isn’t the technology inherently so complex, and its use in practice so secret – because if you are spying on the mafia you don’t want them to know about your investigation, if you are spying on foreign intelligence you don’t want them to know – and those excuse… those are the excuses…



[17:55:44.16]
ANDY:

Or you spy on your own parliament…



[17:55:47.17]
JULIAN:

But those are excuses… those first two – the mafia and foreign intelligence – they are excuses that people will accept to erect such a system…



[17:55:54.12]
JAKE:

The Four Horsemen of the Info-pocalypse…



[17:55:54.23]
JULIAN:

Yep, yeah, or in child pornography. So once you have erected it, given that it is complex, given that it is designed to operate in secret, isn’t it true that policy is impossible? That it… it cannot be regulated with policy?



[17:56:12.03]
JEREMIE:

I’m not saying that it can work. I’m saying that this is the theory of how a democratic system would function, and indeed, even within this theory you have the secret services that are allowed to go beyond what is the rule for standard police forces and investigators, so even if we frame properly the behaviour of the standard investigators there would be other people who would be able to use those technologies. But there is a real question of whether or not we should, um, regulate the fact of just buying and owning those technologies or using it…



[17:56:49.10]
JULIAN:

So, this is the bulk interception kits that can intercept half a country or a city or…?



[17:56:52.12]
JEREMIE:

Like a nuclear weapon. You cannot sell that easily, a nuclear weapon, and some countries may want to build one, may have problems or something, and that’s the technology that is regulated and not the use that is being done with it when we talk about weapon systems. So, I think the debate might be about whether or not these technologies should be considered as war.



[all talk over each other]




[17:57:18.13]
JAKE:

It depends… when it is weapons, and there is no question that it is a weapon in places like Syria or in places like Libya, right – they specifically use this surveillance equipment to target people politically in Libya. They targeted people in the United Kingdom using French equipment that would be illegal to run in France, and they sold it knowingly…



[17:57:37.12]
ANDY:

And they’d never do that, right?



[17:57:38.24]
JAKE:

Well, they were caught with their own internal documents in the Spy Files, right? I mean, I tried to think about this in… if we’re going to talk about it in terms of weapons, we have to remember it is not like selling a country a truck. It’s like selling a country a truck, a mechanic and a team that goes in the truck that selectively targets people and then shoots them…



[17:57:57.23]
JULIAN:

Well, it’s like selling them a whole army of trucks because you can take the whole…



[17:58:00.09]
ANDY:

Well, the interesting point is that cryptography is regulated. There’s the so-called Wassenaar conference, which indeed applies in international regime so you cannot export encryption technology which helps you to protect against interception technology to those countries declared evil or to countries which are for whatever reasons declared problematic, but if you are dealing surveillance equipment you can sell that internationally. There is no export restrictions on that and the reason, I would say, is simply because the… the governments have two things. The one is, even the democratic-run countries and governments… still, the government as such has a self-interest and that self-interest and the selfishness of countries – or of governments, better to say – is to control. And anything that helps to control… And even if you’re dealing with evil countries and you bring them surveillance equipment to do evil things, you will benefit because you will learn what they are listening to, what are they afraid of; you will understand what are the most important people in the country, maybe opposing the government, organising, you know, political events and so on, so you will be able to predict future happenings. You will be able to, you know, sponsor actings and so on. So, here we are in the very dirty games of what’s happening between countries, and that’s the reality why surveillance systems are not regulated.



[17:59:36.11]
JULIAN:

I want to explore this analogy of mass surveillance as like weapons of mass destruction. So when we… It was a fact that… it was a fact of physics that it was possible to make an atomic bomb, and when an atomic bomb was made then geo-politics changed and life for many people changed – in different ways, some positive perhaps, and others on the brink of total apocalypse. We saw that there was an atomic bomb and a peace movement came up in response and also regulatory movement came up, which made it very care… which applied controls as to how the chain of command would work to deploy atomic weapons, and so far that chain… those controls in the chain of command have meant that we have not faced, other than Japan, a nuclear war. With this increase in surveillance that is… with the increase in the sophistication and the, um, inexpensiveness of bulk surveillance that has happened over the past 10 years we’re now at a stage where the human population is growing like this – doubling time is 25 years or so – and the capacity of surveillance is doubling every 18 months. So, we can see in these two curves that the ability to surveil everyone on the planet, even in the poor countries, is going to occur sometime in the next 15 years. For sure. I mean, we’re now at the stage where just 10 million dollars can buy you a unit to surveil a medium-sized country’s traffic and permanently store it. So I wonder if… if we need a sort of equivalent response; that this really is a big threat to democracy and to freedom all around the world and it is a threat that needs a response, like the threat of atomic war needed a mass response, to try and control it.



[18:01:38.08]
ANDY:

Well, I was, you know, seeing in Libya how the democratic movement… Actually, they run into the surveillance stations, they took records, they provided evidence that Western companies supported the Gadaffi regime in suppressing political actions, and then the new government took over exactly these facilities, now operating in full service again. So while I do agree that it would be idea… a good idea to control this technology, I am a bit sceptical about the interests of citizens against the interests of people in power, so to say. I wouldn’t even call it governments necessarily, but who has the ability to listen to all the phone calls, has the ability to do things. So this is about stock rate also – economically, you can benefit a lot if you know what’s going on. You can…



[18:02:48.02]
JULIAN:

Most countries now have changed their legislation in relation to spying, saying that any spying that concerns an economic benefit is ok, it’s not just terrorism or foreign [inaudible]




[18:02:59.17]
ANDY:

But did you read that US members of the Senate are now forbidden to do insider tradings, that’s just recently.



[18:03:06.11]
JULIAN:

That’s a new thing.



[18:03:07.04]
ANDY:

Yeah, that’s a new thing, yeah. For all they…



[18:03:09.12]
JAKE:

I’ll believe it… I’ll believe that when… when I see it. I mean, what about… I mean, a good analogy which some people in the Chaos Communication Congress in December brought up was the concept of treating surveillance technology, especially tactical surveillance technology but also strategic surveillance technology, like landmines . And I think that’s a very powerful thing, right. Just because it is… it is possible that doesn’t mean that it is inevitable that we will go down this path and it doesn’t mean that we have to get all the way to the point of every person being monitored. There are some economic incentives that are against us though so, for example, someone explained to me that the way that the Norwegian telephone system used to work is such that it would essentially run a meter and the meter, depending on how far away your call, would run faster or slower, but the actual metadata about the call you made, such as the number you dialled, it was not legal for the Norwegian telephone company to store it or to keep a ledger of it, specifically because of privacy concerns surrounding the Second World War. So it’s possible to build that same technology in a way that is privacy-friendly but still allows for a market-based approach, which still allows for economic contributions. We cannot, however, win, for example, with GSM technologies. At the moment, the way that these systems are set up, not just in terms of billing but in terms of the architecture, they have no location privacy, they have not content privacy, and the way that this is built… I mean, if everybody gets a…



[18:04:34.20]
JULIAN:

That’s a… A mobile phone is a tracking device that also makes calls.



[18:04:38.14]
JAKE:

Yeah, exactly. So, if the Third World, for example, we’re talking about everybody in the Third World being spied on, realistically what does that mean? Realistically, it means their telephone systems that is their link to the rest of the world are spy devices when someone chooses to use the data collected in that way.



[18:04:56.17]
ANDY:

Well, I saw African countries getting a whole internet infrastructure, including fibre-optic cable backbone switches, as a gift from the Chinese. [laughs]




JAKE:

Like, as a UTD gift or something like that?



ANDY:

Yeah, and of course… and of course the Chinese have an interest in the data, so they don’t need to be paid back in money they take it in data, the new currency.



[18:05:21.07]
JEREMIE:

State-sponsored surveillance is indeed a major issue which challenges the very structure of all democracies and the way it functions, but is it the proper time now to evoke also that there is private surveillance and potentiality for private mass collection of data? And actually… actually just look at Google. Google knows – if you’re a standard Google user – Google knows who you’re communicating with, who you know, what you’re researching, potentially your sexual orientation, your religious and philosophical…



ANDY:

It knows more about you than you know yourself.



JEREMIE:

More than your mother and maybe more than yourself. Google knows when you’re online and when you’re not.



[18:06:05.19]
ANDY:

Do you know what you looked for two years, three days and four hours ago? You don’t know, Google knows, no?



[18:06:14.15]
JEREMIE:

Actually, I try not to use Google anymore for these very reasons, but um…



[18:06:18.10]
JAKE:

It’s like the Kill Your Television of the 21st century. So, effective protest except the network effect prevents your protest from working…



JULIAN:

Yep.



JAKE:

Kill your television, man.



[18:06:27.12]
JEREMIE:

Well it’s not… it’s not a protest, it is more my personal way of seeing things.



[18:06:35.07]
ANDY:

I watched these beautiful movies of people throwing their televisions out of, like, three-storey houses, like… we had…



[18:06:39.21]
JEREMIE:

What I’m saying it’s not only the State-sponsored surveillance, it’s the… the question of privacy, the way data is being handled by third parties and the actual knowledge that people have of what is being made with the data. Most people…



[18:06:57.03]
JULIAN:

Can you speak about Facebook as well, Jeremie?



[18:06:58.20]
JEREMIE:

Well, actually I don’t use Facebook so I don’t know much about it. But now with Facebook you see the recent behaviour of users who are very happy to hand out any kind of personal data, and can you blame people for not knowing where is the limit between privacy and publicity? I mean, in a few years … a few years ago, before digital technologies, people who had a public life were either into showbusiness or politics or journalists, and now everybody has the potential for public life by clicking a Publish button. ‘Publish’ means ‘making something public’, it means handing out to the rest of the world and, of course, when you see teenagers, you know, sending pictures of them being drunk or whatever, they may not have this vision that it means the whole rest of the world – potentially for a very, very long period of time – that will have access to this data. And so Facebook makes its business by blurring this line between privacy, friends, publicity – and is even storing the data when you think that it is only meant for your friends and the people you love, so whatever the degree of publicity you wish your data is under when you click Publish on Facebook, you give it to Facebook first, and then you may give access to some other Facebook users.



[18:08:35.08]
JULIAN:

Even this… this line between government and corporation – I mean, this is blurred.



JEREMIE:

Yeah, of course.



JULIAN:

I mean, if you look at the expansion in the military contractor sector in the West over the past 10 years, the National Security Agency, which was the biggest spy agency in the world, it had… it had 10 primary contractors on its books that it worked with. Now it has – two years ago – it has over 1,000, so there’s a spreading out, a smearing out of the border between… between what is government and what is …



[18:09:06.09]
JEREMIE:

And… and it can be argued that the US spying agencies have access to all of Google’s stored data…



[18:09:13.03]
JULIAN:

But they do.



[18:09:13.20]
JEREMIE:

… and all of Facebook data, so in a way Facebook and Google may be extensions of these agencies.



[18:09:19.12]
JULIAN:

Do you have a subpoena? A Google subpoena?



[18:09:19.19]
JAKE:

I mean, I know that the Wall Str…



[18:09:22.08]
JULIAN:

We just got two yesterday.



[18:09:25.10]
JAKE:

So, the Wall Street Journal that Twitter and Google and Sonic.net, three services that I used or have used in the past, received three 2703(d) notices.



[18:09:40.10]
JULIAN:

The Patriot Act, yeah.



[18:09:42.03]
JAKE:

I mean, so this is the stored communications essentially, right. Then they’re saying they wanted the metadata and they asserted that they have the right to do this without a gag, and there’s an ongoing legal case, and so I read the Wall Street Journal and I found out like everyone else.



[18:09:55.06]
JULIAN:

So… so they sucked up to the US government in its Grand Jury investigation into us, subpoenaed your records – not a conventional subpoena, but this special sort of intelligence subpoena.



[18:10:06.09]
JAKE:

Allegedly. That’s what I read in the Wall Street Journal, and if that were to be true, I might not be even allowed to reference it except for in reference to the Wall Street Journal, which is a really… I mean, it’s a thing, right? Yeah, so that’s…



[18:10:18.24]
JULIAN:

Is it because these orders also have gagging, a gag component? That’s been found to be unconstitutional, hasn’t it?



[18:10:24.14]
JAKE:

Ah, maybe not, right? You know, for the Twitter case it’s public that we lost the stay where we said that disclosing this data to the government would do irreparable harm and they can never forget this data once they receive it and, you know, the government said ‘Yeah well, your stay is denied, Twitter must disclose this data’, and, you know, we’re in the process of appeal, specifically about the secrecy of docketing – and I can’t talk about that because we’re in the process of appeal – but… but as it stands right now, the court found that… they said that on the internet that… that you have no expectation of privacy when you willingly reveal information to a third party and, by the way, everyone on the internet is a third party, and by the way…



[18:11:03.20]
JULIAN:

Yeah, and it’s… and even if the organisation like Facebook or Twitter says that it will keep the information private…



[18:11:08.09]
JAKE:

Yeah, yeah, f’sure. And this is the blurring of the State and corporation, and this is actually probably the most important thing to consider here, which is that, you know, the NSA and Google have a partnership in cyber-security for national reasons, I mean national defence in the United States…



[18:11:22.05]
ANDY:

Whatever cyber-security means in this context. That’s… that’s a wide term.



[18:11:24.23]
JAKE:

And they are trying to exempt everything from FOIA and to keep it secret. And then the government, the US government, also asserts it has the right to send an administrative subpoena – which is a lower bar than a search warrant – they assert that they have the right to do that, that the third party is gagged from telling you that this has happened, and that you have no right to fight because it is the third party, and the third party has no constitutional grounds to protect your data either.



[18:11:47.00]
JULIAN:

The third party being Twitter or Facebook or your ISP or…



JAKE:

Or anyone.



[18:11:51.17]
JULIAN:

Or anyone.



JAKE:

Anyone. And they said it was a one-to-one map with banking privacy and with, you know, dialling a telephone. You willingly disclose the number to the phone company by using it and you knew that, right? By using the telephone, you obviously are saying ‘I have no expectation of privacy’ by typing those numbers. I mean, there’s even less explicit connection to the machine. People don’t understand how the internet works – they don’t understand telephone networks either – but courts have consistently ruled that this is the case, and in… in our Twitter case so far, which unfortunately I can’t really talk about because I don’t actually live in a free country, you know, that they assert essentially the same thing. And it’s absolute madness to imagine that we give up all of our personal data to these companies, and then the companies have essentially become privatised secret police, where – in the case of Facebook – we have democratised surveillance, and instead of paying people off the way the Stasi did in your country, we reward them, as a culture, by, you know, they get laid now. They report on their friends and then like ‘Hey, so and so got engaged’, ‘Oh, so and so broke up’, ‘Oh, I know who to call now’.



[18:12:55.18]
ANDY:

Well, what’s interesting on the Facebook thing is there were people who were able to pressure Facebook to hand out all the data stored about them under European Data Protection law, and the smallest amount of data was 350 MB, the biggest one was like 800 MB, so through that the whole…



[18:13:14.15]
JULIAN:

So, this is like…



[18:13:14.15]
ANDY:

Well, that is… the interesting thing is the database structure of Facebook has been disclosed with this act and, well, every time you log in the IP number and everything gets stored, every click you make, every time, also the amount of times you stay on a page so they can assume you like it, you don’t like it and so on, but the key identifiers of the database structure was disclosed through this was ‘target’. So, they don’t call these people ‘subscriber’ or ‘user’ or whatever, they call them ‘targets’, which you could say ‘Ok, that’s marketing term, you know’, but…



[18:13:51.09]
JULIAN:

Yeah, but it was private, I mean internally private.



[18:13:53.08]
ANDY:

But you could also… Yeah, but in a military sense…



JULIAN:

Oh, yes. I see.



ANDY:

… it could also be target, or it could be in an intelligence sense target, so it just is a matter of the circumstances where the data is being used.



JULIAN:

[talking over AMM]
Ok. That’s what’s so scary about it.



ANDY:

And I think that is very helpful. I mean, we used to say, you know, in Facebook actually the customer or the user is not the customer, the customer… the user is actually the product and the customer is the advertisement companies, that’s the most, um, less paranoid, that’s the most harmless explanation of what’s going on there. But, I mean, you can hardly blame a company, that’s the problem, to comply with the laws of the country, ok. It’s normally… it’s called normal, and it’s also called criminal if companies don’t comply with the laws of the country, so it’s a little bit of hard thing to say ‘Hey, they’re complying with the law’. What kind of accusation is that? That is pretty normal, and so Facebook…



[18:14:47.05]
JAKE:

No. I mean, but there’s a dispute there… I mean, there is something I have to dispute about that, which is that if you build a system that logs everything about a person and you know that you live in a country with laws that will force the government to give that up, then there’s something to be said about the fact that maybe you shouldn’t build those kinds of system, right? And this is the difference between a privacy by policy and a privacy by design approach to… to actually creating secure systems. I mean, when you’re trying to target people and you know you live in a country that explicitly targets people then you… if Facebook put its servers in Gadaffi’s Libya or put it in Assad’s Syria that would be absolutely negligent and yet, you know, almost all the National Security Letters that went out, I think last year or two years ago …



[18:15:29.15]
ANDY:

You mean, Blackberry putting their servers in India?



[18:15:31.21]
JAKE:

Yeah. So, zero were for terrorism. Like, 250,000 of them were used for everything else, but not terrorism. So, knowing that that’s reality, these companies have some serious ethical liability that stems from the fact that they’re building these systems and they’ve made the economic choice basically to sell their users out. And this isn’t… this isn’t even a technical thing, this isn’t about technology at all, it’s about economics and they have decided that it is more important to collaborate with the State and to sell out their users and to violate their privacy and to be a part of the system of control – to be paid back for being a part of the surveillance culture, to be part of that culture of control – than to be resistant to it, and so they build… they become a part of it; they’re complicit and liable.



[18:16:15.12]
ANDY:

Ethical… ethical liability is not exactly a major-selling brand right now, huh?



[18:16:21.21]
JEREMIE:

So… a question… a question that may arise at this stage is what would be the solution, either for an individual user or for society as a whole? So, there would be technical solutions, decentralised services, everybody hosting their own data, encrypted data, everybody entrusting close… providers close to them that would help them with services of encrypted data, and so on. And also there is the policy option, and I’m not sure that at this stage in time we can efficiently answer the question whether one of the two approaches is the best. I think we have to develop the two approaches in parliament. We need to have free software that everybody can understand, that everybody can modify, everybody can scrutinise in order to be sure of what it is doing. I think that free software is one of the bases for free online society, in order to have the potentiality to always control the machine and not let the machine control you. This is one bit. We need to have strong cryptography to be sure that when you want your data to be read only by yourself, nobody else can read it. We need communication tools like Tor, or like the cyroptophone, to be able to communicate only with the people you want to communicate with. But, I mean, the power of the State and the power of some companies may always exceed the power of the geeks we are, and how we will try to… to build and spread those technologies. We may also need, while we are building them, laws and tools that will be in the hands of citizens, to be able to – if not always in real time – control what is being done with technology, be able to sanction the ones that use them in an unethical way or violate citizens’ privacy.



[18:18:23.21]
JULIAN:

I want to look at this… this… what I see as a difference between a US Cypher Punk perspective and the European perspective, which I think is quite interesting. So, the US Second Amendment is the right to bear arms. Just recently, watching some footage that a friend shot in the US on the right to bear arms, and right above a firearms store it’s ‘Democracy, Locked and Loaded’, and that’s the way that you ensure that you don’t have totalitarian regimes – that people are armed and if they’re pissed off enough, then they simply take their arms and they retake control by force. Whether that argument’s still valid now is actually an interesting one because of the difference in the types of arms that have occurred over the past 30 years. So, if we look back to this declaration that code-making, providing secret cryptographic codes that the government couldn’t spy on, was in fact a munition and this big war that we fought in the 1990s to try and make cryptography available to everyone , which we largely won, actually…



[18:19:35.07]
JAKE:

In… in the West?… [inaudible]




[18:19:36.15]
JULIAN:

Yeah, in the West… which we largely won and it’s in every browser – now perhaps being backdoored and subverted in different kinds of ways. Um, this notion of you cannot trust a government to implement the policies that it says that it’s implementing, and so we must provide the underlying tools, cryptographic tools that we control, as a sort of use of force, in that a government no matter how hard it tries, if the cyphers are good, cannot break into your communications directly. Maybe it can put a bug in your house or whatever…



[18:20:16.03]
JAKE:

Force of authority is derived from violence. One must acknowledge with cryptography no amount of violence will ever solve the math problem…



JULIAN:

Exactly.



JAKE:

… and this is the important key. It doesn’t mean you can’t be tortured, it doesn’t mean that they can’t try and bug your house or subvert it some way but it means if they find an encrypted message it doesn’t matter if they have the force of the authority behind everything that they do, they cannot solve that math problem. And that… this is the thing though that is totally non-obvious to people that are non-technical and it has to be driven home. If we could solve all of those math problems, it would be a different story and, of course, the government will be able to solve those math problems if anyone could. But that’s the difference, right, it’s actually a thing that changes it…



[18:20:52.22]
JULIAN:

But it’s just a fact… it just happens to be a fact about reality, such like that you can build atomic bombs, that there are mass problems that you can create that even the strongest state cannot directly… directly break, and I think that was tremendously appealing to Californian libertarians and others who believed in this sort of Democracy Locked and Loaded, and here was a very intellectual way of doing it – of a couple of individuals with cryptography standing up to the full power of the strongest suit of power in the world. And we’re still doing that a little bit, but I wonder, you know, I have… have a view that the likely outcome is that those are really tremendously big economic forces and tremendously big political forces, like Jeremie was saying, and that the natural efficiencies of these technologies compared to the number of human beings will mean… will mean that slowly we will end up into a global totalitarian surveillance society. By totalitarian I mean a total surveillance, and that perhaps there’ll just be the last free living people – and these last free living people are those people who understand how to use this cryptography to defend against this complete, total surveillance – and some people who are completely off-grid, so neo-Luddites that have gone into the cave, or traditional… traditional tribespeople. And these traditional people have none of the efficiencies of a modern economy so their ability to act is very small. Are we headed for that sort of scenario?



[18:22:37.21]
JEREMIE:

First of all, if you look at it from a market perspective, I’m convinced that there is a market in privacy that has been mostly left unexplored, so maybe there will be an economic drive for companies to develop tools that will give users the individual ability to control their data and communication. Maybe this is one way that we can solve that problem, I’m not sure it can work alone, but this may happen and we may not know it yet. Um, also it is interesting to see what you’re describing is the… the power of the hackers, in a way – ‘hackers’ to the primary sense of the term, not a criminal. A hacker is a… a technology enthusiast, is somebody who likes to understand how technology works, not to be trapped into technology and make it work better. Like, I suppose that you two when you were five or seven you had a screwdriver and tried to open devices to understand what it was like inside, no? So, this is what being a hacker is, and hackers built the internet for many reasons, also because it was fun and have developed it and have given the internet to everybody else. So companies like Google and Facebook saw the opportunity to build business models based on capturing users’ personal data. But still we see a form of power in the hands of hackers and what is of my primary interest these days is that we see these hackers gaining power, even in the political arenas. In the US there has been these SOPA and PIPA legislations – violent copyright legislation that gave basically Hollywood the power to order any internet company to restrict access and to censor the internet…



[18:24:42.01]
JULIAN:

And banking blockades like the one we’re suffering from.



[18:24:45.13]
JEREMIE:

And- exactly – What happened to WikiLeaks on the banking companies was becoming the standard to fight the, you know, evil copyright pirates that killed Hollywood and so on. And we witnessed this tremendous uproar from civil society on the internet – and not only in the US – it couldn’t have worked if it was only US citizens who would have rose against SOPA and PIPA. It was people all around the world that participated, and hackers were at the core of it and were providing tools to the others to help participate in the public debate…





[18:25:20.05]
JULIAN:

To help build the campaign…



[18:25:21.05]
JEREMIE:

To reach… was it on Tumblr or some site like this? Where the home page lets you enter your phone number and you’ll be called back and put in relation with the Congress and you would just start talking with somebody and say ‘Yeah, this is bullshit’…



[18:25:34.09]
JAKE:

The cell phone was used in defence of itself.



[18:25:37.20]
JEREMIE:

So, I think we hackers have a responsibility towards the tools we build and hand out to the rest of the world, and that we may be witnessing the beginning of how efficient can this responsibility be put into action when we use it collectively. Today, in the EU is the ACTA debate – ACTA is the blueprint for SOPA and PIPA – and I just come back from the European Parliament, where we as individuals, beardy smelly individuals, were dictating to one parliamentarian committee in the European Parliament. We were showing them Articles in the rules of procedure in the European Parliament that apparently they were looking at for the first time and told them how to behave, and there was this vote that we won 21 by 5 and marginalised the UK Rapporteur in a… in a small corner. So, this is a very small part of it, and this is a small part on a small procedural point on the way towards defeating ACTA that is this monstrous global agreement that has been designed behind our backs to circumvent democracy itself. But we may as citizens be able to kill that monster – easily, with the internet tools, the wikis, the IRISes – and I think that we are just witnessing maybe the… the coming of age… the teenage of internet and the way that it can be used by society at large to try to make things change. And I think this is of tremendous importance that we hackers are here with our technical knowledge to guide people and to tell them ‘Well, you should use this technology that enables control over your privacy rather than Facebook or Google’, and that the two articulates together quite well – or may articulate together quite well – this is…for the small bit of optimism.



[18:27:34.24]
JULIAN:

Jake, you… Jake, this political radicalisation of internet youth, over the past two years especially, you’ve been all over the world talking about Tor, talking to people who want anonymity, want privacy in relation to their own government, and you must have seen in many different countries this phenomena. Is it something significant?



[18:27:58.22]
JAKE:

Sure. I mean, I think it’s absolutely significant. I mean, the canonical example that I think of immediately is going to Tunisia. I went to Tunisia after Ben Ali’s regime fell and we talked about Tor in our computer science classroom, which is, you know, some very technical people at the university, and someone raised their hand and said ‘But what about the bad people?’ – and she rattled off the four Horsemen of the Info-pocalypse, right, money laundering, drugs, terrorism and child pornography – ‘What about the bad people?’. And those four things are always brought out and the spectre of those things is used to sort of shoot down privacy-preserving technologies, because clearly we have to defeat those four groups. So I asked the class: ‘Who here has ever seen the Ammar 404 page?’, which is the censorship page deployed by the Ben Ali regime during the revolution and before the revolution in order to stop access. Every single person in the room, except the person that asked that question, raised their hand. Every single person, including the professor in the class, raised their hand and I looked at the girl who asked this question and I said ‘Look at all the people around you. That’s all of your classmates. Do you really believe that it was worth oppressing every person in this room in order to fight against those things?’, and she said ‘Actually, I’m raising my hand too’.



[all laugh]




[18:29:18.22]
JAKE:

I mean… I mean, you know, it was a little more drawn out than that but essentially, you know, you see people who have it contextualised for them and then they realise what the real deal is. And that changes things dramatically – and this happens all over the world, all the time – but it usually happens later, that is people see in hindsight that they could have used the technology, they see in hindsight that ‘Oh yeah, it turns out it’s not just bad people because it turns out that, in fact, I am the bad person if I speak my mind about something and a person in power doesn’t like what I have to say about it’. And you see that there’s a sort of awakening about that, but I think you’re wrong to say that it just happened in the last couple of years – and I’m sorry to do this to you on your own show – but, you know, you… you are part of the radicalisation of my generation, right. I’m like a third-generation Cypher Punk if I… if I were in that. And, you know, the work that you and Ralf did on the Rubberhose file system was part of what inspired me to work on cryptosystems and, you know, the crypto file system he wrote was in response to things like, you know, the regulatory investigative powers in the United Kingdom, where basically the State has decided negative regulation is the solution to cryptography – where they can, you know… you know, take… take your password. Of course, in Julian’s case when they created this, it was because oppressive regimes would torture people for a passphrase so you had to be able to give up different passphrases in order to comply with their torture. And I realised when I saw that this existed that you could use technology to empower everyday people to change the world. And the Cypher Punks, going back.. I mean, this is… this is really the… it goes far, far back… you know, the old mailing list – the Cypher Punk mailing list with Tim May, and reading your old posts on the Cypher Punks’ mailing list… I mean, that’s what started a whole generation of people really becoming more radicalised, because people realised that they weren’t atomised anymore, and that they could literally take some time to write some software that if someone used it they could empower millions of people, and there’re just some unintended consequences with how that played out.



JULIAN:

Yeah.



JAKE:

Because the people that created Google, they didn’t start out to create Google, to create the greatest surveillance machine that ever existed. But in effect that is what has been created, and as soon as people start to realise it, they’ll start sending in those National Security Letters, right?



[18:31:34.04]
JEREMIE:

I think there are three crucial points in what you just said, um…



[18:31:36.07]
JAKE:

Just three?



[18:31:41.09]
JEREMIE:

No. Yeah, among others, but that are…



[18:31:42.18]
ANDY:

Ok, let me add number four maybe, yeah?



[18:31:45.05]
JAKE:

[laughs]
You don’t even know what they are yet.



[18:31:47.23]
JEREMIE:

I see… I see three points that are intertwined and that… um, I’m not saying they should be taken separately, but… one of them is authoritarian regimes and the powers that authoritarian regimes have in an era of digital technologies. In the case of the Ben Ali regime – er, it is obvious in so many regimes as of today – it is obvious that you can decide what people can learn about, or who they can communicate with. And this is of tremendous power and this should be opposed, and the internet – a free internet – is a tool for opposing that. Another that you… well, that’s your area of expertise and it’s building tools, and building tools to… to… building better technology, technology that can try to route around such problems as censorship, but basically building tools that are part of that infrastructure that help us topple dictators like that. And yet another issue is the political storytelling you evoked with the Four Riders of the Info-calypse, the pretexts that are used every day by politicians through the media – ‘Are we all going to die of terrorism?, therefore we need a Patriot Act’… ‘Child pornographers are everywhere’… ‘There are paedo-Nazis all over the internet, therefore we need censorship’… [all laugh]




[18:33:17.00]
JAKE:

Paedo-Nazis?



[18:33:18.07]
JEREMIE:

Paedo-Nazis, yeah – paedo-nazi.com is reserved already. Um, and ‘Artists are going to die and there wont be cinema anymore, therefore we have to give Hollywood the power to censor the internet’, and so on and so on. So, I think here again the internet is a tool, is a… internet may be the antidote to the political storytelling. The political storytelling relies on emotionality and relies on the… the media term that is of extremely short span – one information appears and disappears 24 hours afterwards and is replaced by another, and so on. With the internet, I get the feeling that we’re… we’re building what I call internet time. As the great internet never forgets, we can build over years, day after day, dossiers… and we can elaborate, we can analyse… This is what we’ve been doing for the last three years with ACTA. We’ve taken… Once again, WikiLeaks has been an inspiration to us because the first version of ACTA that got leaked was leaked to WikiLeaks…



JULIAN:

Yeah, we picked it up.



JEREMIE:

… in 2008 and we leaked two versions ourselves, and that’s five versions of the text over three years we could take and paragraph by paragraph, line by line, say this is doing that, this is the industry’s asking this, and then you have here that, and mix in this and that, and involve legal experts into it and technology experts into it and build our version of a political storytelling that was ‘Oh, we need ACTA to… to save culture and save the world from free… from, er, to save children from fake medications’, and things like that. And so, we built our own political line with internet time, with precise analysis, with hard work, with connecting people together to participate in that.



[18:35:12.08]
JULIAN:

That’s true, and I think that view of ACTA has won the public.



[18:35:18.12]
JEREMIE:

So far, so good.



[18:35:18.20]
JULIAN:

That is… that is the… I think will be the historical view, but… but behind the scenes… I mean, maybe it’s a good example actually, this… this so-called anti-fitting… this so-called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has actually been used behind the scenes in a whole lot of bilateral treaties to try and create a new international regime about what is legal and what is not legal as far as publishing is concerned, and what mechanisms there are to stop people from publishing various things. And it seems to be occurring anyway – so, I mean, we’ve had the… we’ve had the democratic debate; ACTA has been demonised in the public sphere; we’ve won the narrative but, behind the scenes, secret bilateral treaties have been set up which are achieving the same result anyway, it’s just subverted the democratic process…



[18:36:13.23]
JAKE:

One thing that I think really has to be pointed out is that, you know, Roger Dingledine, one of the creators of Tor, who I would say is sort of my mentor and has really given me a lot to think about with regard to censorship circumvention and to anonymity online, he talks about how, for example, firewalls are not just technically successful – and it is important to understand the technology behind them if you wish to build technology to resist them – it is important to remember, though, that they are socially successful, and that people that are fighting against ACTA are in fact… they are using technology and the technology enables them to resist, but it is in fact the agency of everyday people that it’s important to understand here, and technobabble is not the thing that is important. What matters is people actually getting involved in that narrative and changing it while they still have the power to do so, and the human aspect of that is, in fact, the most important part of that. And the fact that WikiLeaks has released documents that enable that – that it is the information-sharing that is important – but it is also the people that take that important information and actually move it. Because there is at least the argument that we do live in a democracy, that we are free, that it is supposed to be that we are governed through consent. And so, if everyone understands what is going on and we find it is not something we consent to, then it is very difficult to keep up that and just pass those as laws and do it without the consent of those that are governed.



[18:37:36.13]
JEREMIE:

It’s about increasing the political costs of taking those bad decisions for the ones who take them, and we can do that collectively with a free internet as long as we have between our hands.



[18:37:47.03]
JAKE:

But you could do it without an internet also, right, because we have – historically – had free societies pre-internet, it just was economically more expensive, it was… it was more difficult in some ways, but this is actually why the peer-to-peer movement is so important, right, I mean Ross Anderson…



[18:38:04.18]
ANDY:

Yeah, that is… that is what I… what I just wanted to… to… Point number four is, I think, the architectural dimension of decentral systems…



JAKE:

Yes.



ANDY:

… is a core thing that needs to be put also in the hands of the people, because we have this cloud computing, centralistic…



[18:38:24.16]
JULIAN:

We have Facebook. Facebook completely centralised. Twitter completely centralised. Google completely centralised. All in the United States, all controllable…



[18:38:28.24]
ANDY:

Google completely centralised… and we have cloud computing as a… as an economic incentive for companies to have a cheaper way of processing their data in so-called international data centres run by US corporations, meaning bringing their data into US jurisdictions…



[18:38:46.18]
JULIAN:

Like Amazon, that cut us off when we used it.



[18:38:50.04]
ANDY:

Yeah. Like the payment companies and so on. So, while the architectural point of view is very important understanding, this is like killing the supermarket next door, like… like the [inaudible]




[18:39:01.12]
JULIAN:

Yep, and going to a big, big multinational like Safeway.



[18:39:06.06]
ANDY:

Yeah, that’s like the same way that happened in the shopping thing and it’s very important to keep up decentral infrastructure approach and also – actually something I learned when I was on this ICANN thing from Vince Cerf – is he always said that the only…



[18:39:22.11]
JULIAN:

So, ICANN is what?



[18:39:23.06]
ANDY:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers…



[18:39:25.14]
JULIAN:

So, assigned – makes the domain names and regulates them.



[18:39:27.09]
ANDY:

Yeah, and actually Vince Cerf, who invented at least part of the TCP/IP protocol – he always used to say ‘You know, that’s one good thing about governments is there’s never a singular, they’re always in plural’. So even among governments, they all want to have their decentral, their own, you know, range of power, even within governments there is different factions fighting with each other, so that is finally what is going to save us from the Big Brother, because there’s going to be too many who want to be Big Brother and they will have fights amongst each other and so on.



[18:39:59.16]
JULIAN:

I don’t think so, Andy. I think that is… I think we once upon a time had national elites..



ANDY:

Well, but…



JULIAN:

… national elites that were competitive with each other, and now they’re linking together and they’re lifting off their respective policies…



[18:40:11.10]
ANDY:

They are linking together, you are right in that respect – and I’m not so sure it’s really going to save our arse – but there is the chance of actually keeping our own identity and our… I mean, we have to stick to our own infrastructure, that’s, like, the important thing to learn here – that if we want to oppose the surveillance state, the one Big Brother thing, we have to study what is that, and if that is indeed a linking of central states that, like, ‘Hey, if we combine we can even gain more’. And we need to think what’s our role here – our role is to keep decentral, have our own infrastructure, don’t rely on cloud computing and other bullshit, but like, have our own thing.



[18:40:52.07]
JULIAN:

I mean, we… we may have this domination of technique. I mean, if it is a fact… it’s a fact that it’s easy to use Twitter then start your own Twitter, if it’s a fact that it’s easier to use Facebook than Diaspora, or some alternative, if it’s a fact that cloud computing is cheaper…



[18:41:05.13]
ANDY:

Well, coming back… coming back to the Catholic church, you know, we’re going back to times where there is one issuer of books, and as Amazon beat through the e-books, beat through whatever, so it is about keeping our own printing/publishing capabilities. Even if they don’t want stuff to be happen. And I think the next step will obviously have to be that we need our own money, we need our way, even if they don’t like that we support, you know, projects like yours or whatever, that we can do that without relying on central infrastructure which all goes through one jurisdiction that obviously if…



[18:41:42.16]
JULIAN:

So, so, so… wait, wait, wait… [all talking at once]

To be continued…