what is killing PKI?

Stan Tobias sttob at mailshack.com
Thu Aug 30 15:59:48 CEST 2012

Faramir <faramir.cl at gmail.com> wrote:
> El 28-08-2012 18:27, Stan Tobias escribió:

>   Right, that was my point. From your previous message, I got the idea
> you suggested if we want to use buses, we must use them, if we want
> privacy, we must send clear text messages and claim "don't read
> them!". But it can only work if we get aware about people violating
> our rights. 

No.  We send letters and postcards, we cannot guarantee that nobody
reads them, we cannot know if anybody reads them, and yet we can talk
about Privacy.

> With email messages that is not the case (unless people
> disclosure things they saw on the messages).

Privacy predates computers.  It's a concept we try to extend into
our digital world.  We require others not to read e-mails (without an
important reason), _by extension_, just as nobody is allowed to open our
envelopes.  By sending messages in the clear, we keep the issue *alive*,
we discuss it, we test it, we complain, we get offended sometimes.

Suppose, our computers were impenetrable and all our communications
encrypted.  Nobody, not even governments, can read anything we post.
Are we better off?

JUDITH:  "Here! I-- I've got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can't
         actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody's
         fault, not even the Romans', but that he can have the right to
         have babies."
FRANCIS: "Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right
         to have babies, brother. Sister. Sorry."
REG:     "What's the point?"
FRANCIS: "What?"
REG:     "What's the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he
         can't have babies?!"
(source: http://montypython.50webs.com/scripts/Life_of_Brian/8.htm)

I can envisage a politician comes up one day with an idea: We have
total digital privacy now, digital privacy laws are no longer relevant.
Let's abolish them!  By extension, if we don't protect digital messages,
why should we protect letters?   Keeping laws is so costly.  Let there
be no privacy laws at all!  After all, we don't take privacy from Johnny,
he can always email his granny, instead of sending a postcard, right?

Are we still better off?

>   Ok, my fault, I was talking about privacy and not about her rights.

I understand that the word "privacy" used in jargon, word cliches,
language phrases, and has different meanings.  It sometimes is a difficulty
for me, too.  Wikipedia says: The term "privacy" means many things in
different contexts.  I tried to identify and define "Privacy" as a *value*
in our lives, which the society protects; in this sense I use the word
in this thread.  I don't know if my vague description was the best one,
I just couln't come up with anything better.  And I don't mean to pretend
I have a complete understanding of it.

Regards, Stan T.

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