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The New Yorker on Internet security

Anyone interested in Internet security and Internet snooping will want to read Seymour Hersh’s article in the Nov. 1 New Yorker: “The Online Threat: Should we be worried about a cyber war?” The article contains a lot of interesting background on where the government, the military, and private corporations stand on the question of Internet security in general. For example, it would be technically easy for all of us to have encrypted email, with each email electronically signed to verify who sent it — thus putting an end to spam and preventing anyone from snooping on our email. But the powers that be don’t want that, because they want to be able to snoop on us.

The article provoked me to do something that I had meant to do for a long time: set up my computer for encrypting email. It took me less than 30 minutes to do it. But the problem is, very few people are set up to encrypt email, so I’d be sending email that none of my email correspondents can read. What we chiefly need is a movement in which everyone starts encrypting their email. There are free tools for doing this, whether you’re using Windows, a Mac, or Linux. If you’re interested, why not Google around for some instructions…

On my Mac, I’m using MacGPG and GPGMail. Those of you using Windows might want to look into something like EnigMail. The concepts of public-key encryption can be daunting if you’re new to the idea. Some reading and experimentation are required. If programmers could make these interfaces truly simple (and they’re not there yet), then lots of people would start encrypting.


  1. Quetal wrote:

    I am surprised you haven’t commented on the outcome of the General Election. What I don’t get, why the voter would put the party in power that caused (almost) the original mess we are in today.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    I’ve avoided commenting on the election because I so hate how angry I sound on the subject of the incomprehensible ignorance of the American people. The American people are too stupid and propagandized to understand their own economic interests. The people who develop right-wing propaganda are geniuses. Not to mention that they are extremely well funded by those who want to protect the status quo, which redistributes wealth and income upward to the rich, while pushing the bulk of the tax burden onto working people.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

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