Re: US Senators Introduce 'Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act' — With Backdoor Mandate

Karl gmkarl at
Thu Jun 25 18:37:32 PDT 2020

On Thu, Jun 25, 2020, 8:04 PM jim bell <jdb10987 at> wrote:

> US lawmakers have introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act to
> ensure law enforcement can access encrypted information. This bill is “a
> full-frontal nuclear assault on encryption in the United States,” one
> expert says. It requires manufacturers of encrypted devices and operating
> systems to have the ability to decrypt data upon request, creating a
> backdoor requirement.
This is tragic and thematic news.

I think it's interesting to raise a parallel with physical locks.  I don't
know whether people have heard the below before or not.

In cities, pretty much every building has something like a box
on the front for emergency services to use to properly enter the building
if needed.  I believe they are each a secure box that can be opened with 1
key for the whole city, containing a copy of the key for the building door

On disassembly of the locking mechanism to these devices, they use the same
principal as a conventional front door lock, but with radically altered
form factor.  I don't recall well but they may have had something
surprising like more than one row of pins, at different actual angles from
the keyway rather than all up and down like most locks.  Additionally the
key was not flat like most keys, but bent into an unusual shape.

Efforts to learn to pick normal locks do not produce tools that unlock the
govcorpmafiamedicalfire locks.  Similarly locksmiths and
hardware stores do not have the tools to make these locks either.  But
crafting a key at a makerspace would be easy for anybody with the patience
to comprehend the lock and to cut metal to precision.

Of course, doing that would mean that everybody at the maker space would
see you do it, and everybody near the front door would see you open the
emergency services box.  People breaking into buildings this way probably
dress up as someone official.

It is unfortunate that cities are paying knoxbox to have a key to all their
buildings, and to make it possible for somebody else to craft such a thing,
in ways that tenants have no option to reject.  But it seems to have worked
well for the middle class.  Regarding other classes, those who oppress the
people worst off probably have other ways of getting into their buildings,
but it is always nice to reduce these ways.  This historical pattern is

Regarding emergency medical access and burglary, I have been both very
concerned regarding my personal security and at extended severe risk of
medical need, and I can see the value of both changing one's locks to
prevent access (which is not hard to do), and providing immediate access to
emergency services when in a time of need.  It would be nice if the respect
for our preference with regard to which one we need were overt.

Changing the policies of a city is said to be easy but requires persistent
attending of meetings and talking with people.

Contrariwise, in some rural areas, it can take so many hours for
authorities or medics to arrive that nobody actually uses such things or
even cares what the laws are.  I only see knoxboxes in cities.

Security is an interesting space that has been run by common obscurity and
lack-of-education in the physical domain for some time, and this has
apparently worked well for existing powers.  Cryptographers may want to
question how much they want to empower those requiring backdoors, or give
authority to private businesses, when these requests are asked by people
who do not understand cryptography in the slightest.
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