11.17.20

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Regaining Control Over Infrastructure With Decentralisation and Trusted Encryption

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clown computing isn’t about security but lack of it (you’ve been compromised the moment you migrated to ‘the clown’)

Cloud Mass / rain is coming

Summary: Considering some recent developments in the GnuPG project, there are growing reasons for concern; recently we’ve been studying what alternatives to it already exist and are sufficiently mature; there are other betrayals or cases of divergence from a strict trust model and the issue needs to be brought up a lot more often

SOME of ours readers are security folks. They mostly agree with what we’ve published about conflating “fake trust” (authorisation from monopolies) with the user’s trust (in effect not outsourcing trust to some dodgy, military-connected firms) and the idea that encryption between node and server (e.g. Facebook user and Facebook servers) is somehow “privacy”, never mind if Facebook abuses all the data it gathers and moreover sells this data. This isn’t privacy. This is a joke. The media helps these monopolies mislead the public, leaving people utterly confused about what privacy even means. Google says it’s improving GMail privacy/security while harvesting, scanning and sharing with governments contents of E-mails. Is that privacy? Microsoft puts back doors in Windows (there’s evidence), but at the same time it claims to deliver “security updates”. What does security mean in this context? National security? As in US access to all of the files and communications of innocent people? Even on their own desktop/laptop?

But that’s where it gets even worse. Years ago the father of Linus Torvalds said very publicly that his son had been asked by the NSA to put back doors in Linux. Not only did the son not deny this; he turned a question about it into a joke, refusing to explain if he agreed or not. This is no way to establish or regain trust.

Bison comingRecently, in light of the Guix petition, we’ve received some mail alarming us about GnuPG (it is among the signatures there, in effect seeking the ousting of Richard Stallman from the GNU Project — a project that he founded).

“GnuPG is showing signs of compromise by outsiders,” a reader recently told us. “I think we need to start looking at alternatives before the spyware starts to (inevitably) creep in. If [Werner] Koch can accommodate Yubico, he can accommodate the NSA and friends.”

The Yubico Authenticator is developed on Microsoft (NSA/PRISM) servers with proprietary software and the product itself isn’t trustworthy; it's proprietary itself. Yubikey is expensive snakeoil which raises the access barrier, both technically and fiscally (how many in poor African countries would shed a grand or two for a bunch of glorified “keys”?). Who stands to benefit? Probably the deep-pocketed (state-subsidised) surveillance giants that have redefined “security” and “privacy” their own way (they want us to assume they’re guardians of both, not agents or facilitators of digital imperialism).

In the coming days we shall be writing about, then exploring, a plethora of alternatives. They do exist, not many people use these, and the media certainly isn’t giving them the publicity they deserve. A lot of media coverage is nowadays up for sale; those who raise more money can dominate publishers or even so-called ‘influencers’ in social control media (to get paid-for ‘endorsements’).

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