Aral Balkan @aral

Decrypting Amber Rudd

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter & YouTube (Google/Alphabet, Inc) have formed the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism and Amber Rudd is asking them to quietly drop end-to-end encryption from their products. You should not believe a single word any of those companies tells you about end-to-end encryption or privacy on their platforms ever again. PS. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook.

ar.al/notes/decrypting-amber-r mastodon.ar.al/media/KOJ6AT1Xn

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@aral @Gargron i am starting to feel sorry for amber rudd

this is obviously the end of her career as she goes down with the good ship may

this isn't her unpopular agenda she's enacting. she's certainly unprincipled and dumb but she's only being evil because she's being made to be

@nico @aral @gargron Don't feel sorry for her, she could choose to stop and step away and hasn't.

@IrisKalmia @aral @Gargron and do what? If my boss tells me today we're selling apples, I'll be telling everyone how tasty they are. Even though in this case they are clearly rotten

@aral Hi Aral, I contact you on behalf of Framalang. We are a french non-profit dedicated to promote the free culture, by translating foreign documents, articles, etc. into french. In the past, we already translated some of your articles (e.g.: framablog.org/2017/03/14/28-an). We are interested in translating your last article, and publishing it on our blog. Is there any problem doing it ? Thanks !

@aral

> WhatsApp is owned by Facebook.

It's a little too easy to imagine Facebook just taking out the primary feature of WhatsApp silently and nobody noticing.

great, now I gotta figure out if Signal's still safe and (thinking ahead) look to see if anybody has created a properly open-source end-to-end encryption app yet

(cannot remember RN if Signal is, but IIRC it isn't)

@sydneyfalk @aral Signal has end-to-end encryption.
What bugs me with Signal though, is that you have to give your phone number. That's why I prefer Wire (github.com/wireapp) which let you use a username.

@mlcdf @aral

1. You say that like it's a problem. I basically don't know a lot of people and I'm mostly okay with that -- I can probably convince them to try it, esp since WhatsApp is "corp"-romised.

2. Give it time. When people recognize the value, they might show up -- even if that takes time to happen.

@sydneyfalk @aral Yeah, I guess you're right. :)

Also, it reminds me a paradox I often run into : I wants some nice or underdog products/apps to be more popular because I think they're great and promote of lots of values I care about. But at the same time, I don't want them to be too big because then they'll have to much power.

Like, I want more people to use Firefox, but not everybody because otherwise, it'll hurt the open web.

@aral @sydneyfalk I guess what I really want is diversity. 💜

@mlcdf @aral

> at the same time, I don't want them to be too big

This is also a thing -- human civilization and industry often presume that "too big" isn't a thing, and that a company or userbase that doesn't constantly grow is "failing" in some way.

That's how you get Microsoft, Google, and your "I wanna conquer the world", even, in some cases.

@mlcdf @aral

"Must grow no matter what" is the seeming prime directive of many human endeavors, and it leads to some awful places in some situations.

The other prime directive, "pretend some things never have to end", leads OTHER awful places, but -- when you put them together, you get the ideas like "too big to fail" and corpo-government oligopolies and just all sorts of pointlessly wasteful nonsense. :\

@sydneyfalk @mlcdf @aral slightly "tinfoil hat" but just been wondering if Amber Rudd is just "playing dumb", maybe even using SV "techbro" culture to get what she wants - i.e techbros coming to London & mansplaining "you don't even *need* to break the crypto, adtech and metadata gets most of what you want, although it seems its *censorship* you are actually after - I'm sure we can make a deal if you leave our ad delivery networks alone (in meeting room with GCHQ quietly monitoring from afar)

@mlcdf @sydneyfalk Which is why we must fund/build decentralised, interoperable, free and open technologies where there is no centre that can scale, no central accumulation of power and wealth even as the system itself grows, no incentive to scale vertically.

Mozilla, by the way, used to get the ~$400M/year it makes from Google and now does from Yahoo! They’re entirely funded by

@aral @mlcdf @sydneyfalk Those decentralised, interoperable, free and open technologies exist today. It's just, nobody uses them.

XMPP anyone? Facebook, WhatsApp and Google implemented it, extended it, closed it and locked you in.

@desikn @aral @mlcdf

1. Un-sponsored techs that exist but aren't used can sometimes end up seeing more use when the sponsored techs end up bent the wrong way. It's not always a dramatic shift, but every little bit helps.

2. If people don't use a tech, IMO, that's sometimes due to specific factors (UI/UX complexity, frex) and sometimes those specific factors can be worked on.

@desikn @mlcdf @sydneyfalk Right, I’ll remember to use “convenient everyday things” instead of technologies next time :) (ind.ie/ethical-design)

@aral @desikn @mlcdf

Choice of words is always going to need to factor in audience. ^_^

But UI/UX stuff goes way deeper than that. A lot of technologists build things for other technologists, then wonder why it "didn't take off".

It's because most people cannot, and likely never will be, competent enough to deal with the interface as created.

It's sad, honestly. So many fruitful things have died on the vine because "we can't make this simpler".

@mlcdf @desikn @aral

Virtually every technology, computer or not, has had significant simplifications in terms of UI over time. It's necessary. It's vital.

If the barrier to use is "programmers only", you can't get things to "take off", by definition.

(Anyway -- sorry about the mini-rant, it's just a peeve of mine ^_^ )

@mlcdf @aral

this is one of the other things I love about Mastodon

ask a question, get an answer -- no ego-shittery from piles of assholes

(and even if you don't get an answer like I did just now, you sometimes find your way to a great conversation out of it)

@aral @sydneyfalk
There's of course XMPP if you're more daring type of person, or Wire, which is very modern and has many features, but its own pitfalls, too (motherboard.vice.com/en_us/art)

@Nuntius @sydneyfalk Look at Jeremie’s later work (telehash.org) to see the evolution in his thinking since XMPP.

@aral as a rule of thumb, don't consider any communication via proprietary and/or closed source software encrypted.