Essays on Technology and Culture

Easy Security Is Insecure, Good Security Is Hard

The Justice Department did decide to back off, handing Zimmermann and his fellow pro-cryptography activists, or “cypherpunks,” what appeared to be an overwhelming political and legal victory. But it turned out to be somewhat hollow: the government had given up partly because it realized that encryption wasn’t going mainstream at all.

The main reason for this is as sad as it is simple: encrypting e-mail is just hard.

The Daunting Challenge of Secure E-mail : The New Yorker

Cracking the problem of making it easy for ordinary people to encrypt their data and make their digital lives secure is one thing. Convincing ordinary people that encrypting their data and making their digital lives secure is something else entirely. Until someone accomplishes both of those, no progress will occur in this area, at all.