[Freedombox-discuss] Fwd: Re: Roadmap / Wishlists

Jonathan Zeppettini jz at jz.bz
Mon Apr 18 18:09:36 UTC 2011

Secure deletion does not seem like a real issue as Debian has long had
an option for encrypted LVM in the installer. If one of the project's
goals is being able to easily recover from the loss of your FB by
acquiring another and providing the necessary credentials to restore
your data from peers holding it in encrypted form, you are still
vulnerable to the "$5 wrench attack" [1]. If on the other hand you
have another hidden encrypted container on your FB hosting your real
sensitive content, revealing the first key would not compromise your
real sensitive data. This is a similar approach to what Rubberhose [2]
was originally designed to do as well as what is achieved by TrueCrypt
hidden volumes [3].

[1] http://xkcd.com/538/
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubberhose_(file_system)
[3] http://www.truecrypt.org/hiddenvolume

On Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 06:30, Philip Hands <phil at hands.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 18 Apr 2011 01:44:38 -0400, AnotherPeasant <versparis at gmail.com> wrote:
> ...
>> I like the way you think, but what if I forget my hammer?  What if
>> there's no handy hard surface to smash the card against?  I always carry
>> a multitool on me, always, so I've got it covered for me.
> You don't fly much then, I take it ;-)
>> Seriously, though, it gets back to that issue of deniability.  If you've
>> smashed stuff, it gets a lot harder.
> Also, I have no confidence that it's possible to smash flash chips in a
> hurry using hand tools such that the data is really not recoverable.
> Doing it with software is also a serious problem, give the wear levelling
> that is liable to be going on under the OS, which is quite likely to
> simply mark the data as deleted, rather than actually deleting anything.
> ...
>>  I'm not talking about places where
>> the cops will make an angry face, realize you've left them with nothing,
>> and charge you with jaywalking after a stern warning.  I'm talking about
>> places where they play for keeps, with no restrictions on their
>> actions.  The user _may_ be boned at that point, anyway, but without the
>> ability to pretend that they have nothing to hide, no chance in hell.
>> When facing overwhelming force, stealth and misdirection are your
>> friends...
> The UK's RIPA (Regulatory and Investigatory Powers Act 2000) makes it an
> offence to refuse to supply one's crypto keys when requested by a
> properly authorised person (i.e. any random policeman, pretty much).  Of
> course, there are loads of problems with this, but the point is that you
> can be locked up in the UK for about a decade on the basis that you
> withheld your keys/passphrase. Of course you've made their case
> for them by carrying a hammer and using it, since that proves that the
> protected content must be particularly naughty.
> See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-11479831 -- it seems the
> protected content in this case wasn't even evidence of criminality *sigh*
> There are less liberal regimes available than the UK -- your mileage may
> vary but this tactic does not seem very wise to me.
> Clearly, the way one behaves in regimes where a judge must be convinced
> of the justification of breaking one's front door down, and where you
> are trying to protect you embarrassingly large collection of railway
> locomotive photos from the public gaze require a different approach than
> someone that is campaigning for the overthrow of a government that
> routinely deals with people they don't like by treating them to a free
> skydiving trip over the nearest ocean, sans-parachute.
> I can see that a (differently configured) FB might be useful in both
> scenarios, but I don't think that tuning the FB to handle the more
> rigorous end of that spectrum is necessarily going to make it more
> useful or appealing to the wider user base that we want, and the
> resulting lack of success will also fail to help the persecuted.
> Cheers, Phil.
> --
> |)|  Philip Hands [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]    http://www.hands.com/
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