John Kelsey wrote:

> So, what can I do about it, as an individual?  Make the cellphone companies
> build good crypto into their systems?  Any ideas how to do that?

Nope.  Cellphone companies are big slow moving
targets.  They get their franchise from the
government.  If the NSA wants weak crypto, they
do weak crypto.

There is literally no point in hoping the cell
phone company - or any large franchise holder -
will help you in your fight against big brother.

OTOH, what you can do is argue for reasonable

(Similar to GSM's.  That is hard to attack,
there is AFAIR no 'trival' attack, you have to
get access to the SIM or you have to probe the
phone with another phone over a period of hours.
I.e., the attacker leaves tracks, and he does so
in a way that will move him on to another mode
of tapping, such as purchasing a straight listening

Now, it seems that the US standards didn't get
even that.  There's definately a case for arguing
for better crypto in the US.  And, market forces
and all that, one would think that this would
happen in due course.

But arguing for strong crypto end-to-end - save
your breath.

John Kelsey (paraphrased):
> The only way I can see getting decent security [in any application] is to do
> something that doesn't require the rest of the world's permission or
> assistance.

(I edited the above to broaden the assert!)

Opportunistic crypto - that which uses the tools
immediately available and delivers crypto that
is the best available right now - is the only
crypto that will work for *you* the user in any
application.  Anything that defers security off
to some external party has a result of slowing
or killing the application, or delivering less
or no security than if you'd gone ahead in the
first place.

This isn't saying anything new.  It's the Internet,
after all.  On the Internet, one doesn't ask for
permission to participate.  That's no accident,
it's a core reason for its arisal.  Any protocol
that has a step of "now ask for permission" is,
IMHO, breaking one of the major principles of the

> ... I
> have an old Comsec 3DES phone at home.  It's nice technology.  I think I've
> used it twice.  If you're not a cryptographer or a cocaine smuggler, you
> probably don't know anyone who owns an encrypting phone or would
> particularly want to.  Even if you'd like to improve your own privacy, you
> can't buy an end-to-end encrypting phone and improve it much.  That's what
> I'd like to see change.

I guess there's no reason why you couldn't load
up speakfreely on a custom Unix box with a flashed
OS, put in the USB headset, and sell it as an end
to end encrypting phone.  The software's all free,
a cheap machine is $300 at Walmart, some enterprising
crypto guy could ship out a network appliance for

(Or, put it in a PDA that's got the right hooks?)

Half the price of your old Comsec, wasn't it selling
for $1000?


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