The blog of Maxime Kjaer

On a recent quote by the Secretary of the DHS

I happened to stumble across a quote the by Jeh Johnson, Secretery of Homeland Security, that was almost uncannily related to something that I had read the very same day.

TRANSLTR [The NSA’s supercomputer] was a success. In the interest of keeping their success a secret, Commander Strathmore immediately leaked information that the project had been a complete failure. […] Only the NSA elite knew the truth - TRANSLTR was cracking hundreds of codes every day. […] To make their charade of incompetence complete, the NSA lobbied fiercely against all new computer encryption software, insisting it crippled them and made it impossible for lawmakers to catch and prosecute criminals.

Dan Brown, Digital Fortress (Chapter 4), 1998

The current course we are on, toward deeper and deeper encryption in response to the demands of the marketplace, is one that presents real challenges for those in law enforcement and national security.

Let me be clear: I understand the importance of what encryption brings to privacy. But, imagine the problems if, well after the advent of the telephone, the warrant authority of the government to investigate crime had extended only to the U.S. mail.

Our inability to access encrypted information poses public safety challenges.

In fact, encryption is making it harder for your government to find criminal activity, and potential terrorist activity.

Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, RSA Conference, 2015

Note: Please read the full source; in all fairness, the above quote is taken out of context. I don’t necessarily believe in any conspiracy theories about secret NSA supercomputers (although…), or about Dan Brown having predicted things 15 years in advance; I just found it quite amusing to read these two quotes within the same day!

« Back