[PLUG-TALK] Encryption (was Could--Will)

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Wed Mar 8 11:21:38 PST 2006

On Wed, Mar 08, 2006 at 10:15:44AM -0800, AthlonRob wrote:
AR> This whole conversation is leaning more towards securing data than
AR> securing emails specifically.  And data realistically needs to be
AR> secured for a finite period of time.  There is /very little/ data out
AR> there that needs to be secured "forever" - I don't think I have any.
AR> So how long do we want an email to remain private?  A year?  Five years?
AR>  Ten years?  Until we die?
AR> And how long do we think current encryption standards are going to be
AR> effective?
AR> I don't think you can flat out say "encrypting email is futile" ...
AR> that's a short-sighted knee-jerk response to a problem that we don't
AR> even know will exist in the next fifty years.  Data encrypted ten years
AR> ago isn't easily cracked open today.  Some if it isn't feasibly cracked
AR> open.  Some of it simply *can't* be cracked open with current technology.
AR> So plan accordingly and realize nothing is 100%... but surely encrypting
AR> email WILL keep its content out of the hands of the people you don't
AR> like for the near future.  That may be all we care about.

I've often had dustups with Athlon Rob, but I agree wholeheartedly with
his analysis.  Wonder of wonders!

News flash - the Invasion will occur in Normandy in June 1944.  Hitler
is welcome to know this in August 1944.

There are things I have done that I regret, and those I might want
kept secret forever.  But probably not;  confession is good for the
soul.  I'm glad that all this stuff is getting stored somewhere, and
eventually decrypted.  Tactical information about the travel routes of
US soldiers in Iraq?  Yes, I want it secret now, and I want it unsecret
ten years from now, when the historians need it.  I doubt encryption
will unravel fast enough to meet that goal.

In conflicts, the key to winning is not imperviousness, but assymmetry.
If it costs me 0.1 cents to encrypt something, and a million dollars to
break the encryption, I have an advantage.  Over time, both costs drop,
so bit lengths increase, maintaining parity.  Over time, new encryption
methods are discovered, often based on the mathematics we develop cracking
the old ones.  Over time, information loses value, to both me and the
bad guys.  Things change.  If you don't like change, stay away from


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993
KLIC --- Keith Lofstrom Integrated Circuits --- "Your Ideas in Silicon"
Design Contracting in Bipolar and CMOS - Analog, Digital, and Scan ICs

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