Author Archives: TETA

Privacy and security – Encryption is Not Enough

People believed that cryptography could be strong enough to provide protection, privacy and internet security. However, in all possible ways, protection against power attacks from hackers became like a simple dream that never comes real. Researchers tried their best trying to look for privacy and security solutions, but every trial became impossible until, all sort of computer encryption program, no matter how good it is, cannot prevent an attacker from going through someone’s garbage. Encryption and key management was the only hope for protection, isolation and control of personal data. Encryption was considered as the protection mechanism of last resort. However, it didn’t prevent intelligence security agency from collecting people’s data without their agreement.

Even thought people believed that cryptography could protect them from many threats, some of them were afraid to use what they called a complex system, with a concern that if they lose the key, they lose all of the data forever. According to Security Pitfalls in Cryptography, “A cryptographic system can only be as strong as the encryption algorithms, digital signature algorithms, one-way hash functions, and message authentication codes it relies on. Break any of them, and you’ve broken the system. And just as it’s possible to build a weak structure using strong materials, it’s possible to build a weak cryptographic system using strong algorithms and protocols. However, just because an encryption program works doesn’t mean it is secure. What happens with most products is that someone reads Applied Cryptography, chooses an algorithm and protocol, tests it to make sure it works, and thinks he’s done. He’s not. Functionality does not equal quality, and no amount of beta testing will ever reveal a security flaw.”

People argued that encryption program can have a secret backdoor, which may be government-mandated, used for convenience in recovery and other administrative functions. Other than government access, the primary hazard is that backdoors are often easily hacked by attackers. It has been proved that if any computer you use to store your encrypted data is infected by spyware, the decrypted data can easily be transmitted to an exploiter over the Internet.

Bruce Schneier said that Cryptography is harder than it looks: “Billions of dollars are spent on computer security, and most of it is wasted on insecure products. After all, weak cryptography looks the same on the shelf as strong cryptography. Two e-mail encryption products may have almost the same user interface, yet one is secure while the other permits eavesdropping. A comparison chart may suggest that two programs have similar features, although one has gaping security holes that the other doesn’t. An experienced cryptographer can tell the difference. So can a thief.”

40,000 new Laws took effect starting 2012!!

Recently, in our philosophy class we learnt that “breaking the law is one way we might be able to move toward better laws”. This is a matter of people’s choices. When a group of people adopt their own behavior, changing their attitude and breaking laws, there the laws makers will respect their choice and try to regulate them with new laws. The Sodomy laws, surrogate motherhood law, the abortion laws and such kind of laws, all came to help people find themselves involved in a system. However, it’s interesting to know that some laws are conflicting or interfering with the constitutional amendment.

For example let’s take a look at the surrogacy motherhood process. This is an arrangement, whether negotiated privately or through an agency, whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant (sometimes her egg is fertilized artificially with the sperm of the intended father) for the purpose of gestating and delivering a child on behalf of an infertility couple which is in the inability to become pregnant through natural or artificial way. This is a good thing because it is an option for some people to become parents and have their own kids without processing to the adoption. However, too many issues are related to this arrangement. For example the surrogate mother at delivery, may change her mind and refuses to give the baby away, then comes lawyers and the court. The point I wanted to make here is that because surrogacy involves payment to the surrogate mother (taken like a sale of child and Human being are not object for sale), this violate the 13th amendment of the USA constitution (bill of rights) that outlawed slavery and all kind of sale of human being. However, even though surrogacy is conflicting with the constitutions, more than 11 states legalized it .

Recently, lot of new laws took effect, but I am not sure if they were new ones to regulate new behaviors, or if they were just replacing old ones because these old laws were no longer matching people’s desires and attitudes. 2012 have been a more highly regulated year since all 50 state legislatures passed close to 40,000 new laws. Jay McQuade  said, “Unlike our Congress, which had fewer than 60 laws make it to the House and Senate and signed by President Barack Obama, last year was actually a productive one for state lawmakers. The total averages down to 800 new laws per state. The new laws span from gun control to immigration reform to hourly wage adjustments.”

Standards of professions in society

Professionals have all different special obligations, and they all have to be registered. However, they are and have been known at different levels. Some are considered to be higher than others, regarding the results of their works or regarding the salaries earned. For example people believe that engineers should not be licensed just because they are not doctoring or lawyering.  Sometimes people think that engineering and Medicine have no defined differences because  lot of Engineers are Doctors, and some students in some parts of engineering majors end up trying to get into Medical school, maybe because that’s the very highly well payed and honored career. However, even though people think that Medicine and Lawyer are higher than Engineering, some engineers find their career higher than any other career and find it helpful if they are not registered. Their reasons may be related to the fact that they don’t have to defend what they do like Doctors and lawyers, because their works talk for themselves.

Back in history Engineering was not regarded as a profession like medicine or law just because Law was a respected profession for the upper classes, and Medicine, because it involved a lot of learning and only the rich could afford then it became a profession. Later on, people believed that engineering societies were not powerful as the AMA (American Medical Association) and the ABA (American Bar Association). Even though the society used to hold medicine and law on a higher pedestal than engineering, some people has proven the opposite. For example the 31st US President,  Herbert Clark Hoover explained how Engineering  got  a very higher level than any other profession. He said: “The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyers…. He cannot, like the politician, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope that the people will forget. The engineer simply cannot deny that he did it. If his works do not work, he is damned forever.” Herbert Hoover,