23 May 2006

Encrypt this!

by Anton Piatek

There has been a fair bit on encryption recently. The UK government is trying to make it impossible to keep your encryption keys to yourself (as I posted recently).

On this note, the UK government is passing another stupid law. ZDNet UK news: UK law will criminalise IT pros. Basically they want to make it illegal to create or distribute tools that could be used by crackers (they said hackers, but really mean crackers. Read how to be a hacker for the difference). This almost makes sense, until your realise that all sysadmins use these tools too. Not just port scanners to check that your system is secure, but even Perl would be covered by this law. You probably can’t find a sysadmin who has never written in perl, yet this essential sysadmin tool could be made illegal by this badly thought out law.

The New York Times has a good arcticle on VoIP encryption. Philip R. Zimmermann has released a new VoIP program for Linux and Mac which uses public key encryption. The inventor of PGP is a strong advocate for privacy but according to the article he may have some trouble, as an encrypted VoIP connection cannot be intercepted by security services. The CIA will not be happy with this, and it is hard to say what will happen. Zfone may not be around very long, which would be a shame as I also believe strongly in privacy.