Insurance, it is pity that it is needed

Wikileaks feels it needs insurance so it has released an 1.4 gigabyte encrypted file, that everyone can download, but cannot be decrypted until wikileaks releases the encryption keys.

Several thousands have it, and all that will be needed is the keys.  Unless of course someone with some really really large powerful computers spends some serious time decrypting.

Why did wikileaks do this?  With threats being made against Julian by the neocon spokesmen, and the US security establishment, it isn’t any wonder that wikileaks feels they need some insurance.

There are two interesting facets about this insurance file, though.

First, if someone has a quick way around the encryption standard used, (I suspect this is not the case, but don’t know so) they will have decrypted the file.  If anyone can do it, it would be the NSA.  So this release could be an experiment, called “Does anyone know how to rapidly decrypt AES256?”  Probably AES256 is still secure, but who really knows this?

Second, the keys have become a secret that wikileaks needs to protect.   It is an interesting development that wikileaks now has to keep secrets.  They might find that more difficult to do than they think!  Those keys would be worth very much money, and it is certain that different organizations would pay very much to get those keys.  How will everyone at wikileaks who knows those keys resist temptation to make a few hundred thousand or so on the side?

And perhaps the goal of the effort to discredit Julian is to drive dissension over when to use the insurance.  The release of the keys publicly would certainly drive down the value of those keys.

We will see if anyone tips their hand that they know the contents of that file, because there would, depending on who decrypts the file, be some limited disclosures of the information, or perhaps renewed attempts to attack or discredit wikileaks.  Since one of these has already happened,  have to ask, is their a flaw in AES256?  Does someone have some real fast secret way of decrypting AES256?

(NB: corrected some typos 10:58 after posting)

Continue reading “Insurance, it is pity that it is needed”

Insurance, it is pity that it is needed

Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post: “Kill Julian”

This is really unsettling, an article at a major US newspaper (The Washington Post) that advocates killing Julian Assange, the founder of wikileaks.  It is also filled with lies about Julian. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t read it myself. There have been several organizations that advocated killing journalists, for example the Gestapo, and the NKVD/KBG , and Putin’s entourage.  What august company Marc Thiessen is in:

Wikileaks must be stopped

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Let’s be clear: WikiLeaks is not a news organization; it is a criminal enterprise. Its reason for existence is to obtain classified national security information and disseminate it as widely as possible — including to the United States’ enemies. These actions are likely a violation of the Espionage Act, and they arguably constitute material support for terrorism. The Web site must be shut down and prevented from releasing more documents — and its leadership brought to justice. WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, proudly claims to have exposed more classified information than all the rest of the world press combined. He recently told the New Yorker he understands that innocent people may be hurt by his disclosures (“collateral damage” he called them) and that WikiLeaks might get “blood on our hands.”

With his unprecedented release of more than 76,000 secret documents last week, he may have achieved this. The Post found that the documents exposed at least one U.S. intelligence operative and identified about 100 Afghan informants — often including the names of their villages and family members. A Taliban spokesman said the group is scouring the WikiLeaks Web site for information to find and “punish” these informers.

Beyond getting people killed, WikiLeaks’ actions make it less likely that Afghans and foreign intelligence services (whose reports WikiLeaks also exposed) will cooperate with the United States in the future. And, as former CIA director Mike Hayden has pointed out, the disclosures are a gift to adversary intelligence services, and they will place a chill on intelligence sharing within the United States government. The harm to our national security is immeasurable and irreparable.

And WikiLeaks is preparing to do more damage. Assange claims to be in possession of 15,000 even more sensitive documents, which he is reportedly preparing to release. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told ABC News that Assange had a “moral culpability” for the harm he has caused. Well, the Obama administration has a moral responsibility to stop him from wreaking even more damage.

Assange is a non-U.S. citizen operating outside the territory of the United States. This means the government has a wide range of options for dealing with him. It can employ not only law enforcement but also intelligence and military assets to bring Assange to justice and put his criminal syndicate out of business.
Continue reading “Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post: “Kill Julian””

Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post: “Kill Julian”

Can the military be any stupider?

From the let’s-put-the-genie-back-in-the-bottle-department, a perfect example of the 09 F9 effect:

Following up on its risible demand that Wikileaks return the Afghanistan documents, the Pentagon has banned military members from viewing the documents. The Washington Times obtained copies of Navy and Marine Corps messages to their troops saying that accessing the documents even from a personal computer is “willingly committing a security violation.” Wired notes that terrorists everywhere are under no such restriction.

Can the military be any stupider?

Technological Fundamentalism

Some thoughts on the blind adoption of technology:

Hat Tip: La Petite Claudine

Efficiency and interest

The most important point is that our devotion to technology blinds us to the issue of what education is for. In America, we improve the education of our youth by improving what are called “learning technologies.” At the moment, it is considered necessary to introduce computers to the classroom, as it once was thought necessary to bring closed-circuit television and film to the classroom. To the question, “Why should we do this?” the answer is: “To make learning more efficient and more interesting.” Such an answer is considered entirely adequate, since, to the technological fundamentalists, efficiency and interest need no justification. It is, therefore, usually not noticed that this answer does not address the question, “What is learning for?”

“Efficiency and interest” is a technical answer—an answer about means, not ends—and it offers no pathway to a consideration of educational philosophy. Indeed, it blocks the way to such a consideration by beginning with the question of how we should proceed rather than with the question of why. It is probably not necessary to say that, by definition, there can be no education philosophy that does not address what learning is for. Confucius, Plato, Quintilian, Cicero, Comenius, Erasmus, Locke, Rousseau, Jefferson, Russell, Montessori, Whitehead, Dewey—each believed that there was some transcendent political, spiritual, or social idea that must be advanced through education. Confucius advocated teaching “the Way” because in tradition he saw the best hope for social order. As our first systematic fascist, Plato wished education to produce philosopher kings. Cicero argued that education must free the student from the tyranny of the present. Jefferson thought the purpose of education is to teach the young how to protect their liberties. Rousseau wished education to free the young from the unnatural constraints of a wicked and arbitrary social order. And among John Dewey’s aims was to help the student function without certainty in a world of constant change and puzzling ambiguities.

What does technology have to do with finding a profound reason for educating the young?


Technological Fundamentalism

Wikileaks reaches critical mass

Some thoughts regarding the wikileaks leak of the Afghan war diaries:

First, Julian Assange is a first rate spokesman for wikileaks and the community should be proud of the work he has done. But not just the Hacker community, all the world, and Americans especially. He is doing exactly what Thomas Paine would be doing if he were alive today.

Second, the Hacker community needs to do a better job of exposing threats. The questioning of an MIT hacker several months ago should have been more widely publicized. What is needed is a site just like Who is sick? called Who’s been questioned? Anyone who had been questioned by the FBI or the CIA could post the questions that they have been asked.The questions and especially their aggregation would contain a lot of very interesting information.  Patterns emerge, and the threats to freedom will be understood more clearly.

Third, the US military industrial public relations complex has/is about to declare war on freedom, in particular free software which they (wrongly, I might add) see as a threat.  The fact that the RIAA and the MPAA and other strong-IP entities also harbor ill will towards free software will only add fuel to the fire.  The exhibit number one is the questioning of Jacob Applbaum

July 31, 2010 4:16 PM PDT

Researcher detained at U.S. border, questioned about Wikileaks
Elinor Mills
Senior writer

LAS VEGAS — A security researcher involved with the Wikileaks Web site was detained by U.S. agents at the border for three hours and questioned about the controversial whistleblower project as he entered the country on Thursday to attend a hacker conference, sources said on Saturday.

He was also approached by two FBI agents at the Defcon conference after his presentation on Saturday afternoon about the Tor Project.

Jacob Appelbaum, a Seattle-based programmer for the online privacy protection project called Tor, arrived at the Newark, New Jersey, airport from Holland flight Thursday morning when he was pulled aside by customs and border protection agents who told him he was randomly selected for a security search, according to the sources familiar with the matter who asked to remain anonymous.

Appelbaum, a U.S. citizen, was taken into a room, frisked and his bag was searched. Receipts from his bag were photocopied and his laptop was inspected but it’s not clear in what manner, the sources said. Officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Army then told him he was not under arrest but was being detained, the sources said. They asked questions about Wikileaks, asked for his opinions about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and asked where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is, but he declined to comment without a lawyer present, according to the sources. He was not permitted to make a phone call, they said.

After about three hours, Appelbaum was given his laptop back but the agents kept his three mobile phones, sources said.

Wikileaks reaches critical mass