Reconciling assholes for nearly a decade.

Have we a problem here?

While cooking dinner (we eat late) I was transfixed by this "scientific" snippet on the box:

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1320215.htm#transcript

<snip>
Narration:
But the down side is that criminals can use it too... to hide child pornography inside innocent looking holiday snaps... to secretly pass insider-trading information... or to organise drug deals.

Chet Hosmer is CEO of Wetstone, one of a number of companies working with US law enforcement agencies to combat steganography. </snip?

...blablabla

<snip>

Chet Hosmer:
I believe steganography as well as some other malicious software that is out there is not something necessarily that a common person needs to possess, for example we can't possess the smallpox virus so the same kinds of controls for some cyber weapons should seriously be considered

</snip>

IMHO all matters raised apply to cryptic messages of all descriptions and substituting "encrypted" for "steganography" throughout this item helps gauge the problem's scope. Some folks have businesses to drum up or whole governmental agencies' agendas to further, but is "steganography" such an issue aside from complicating traffic analysis?

Aside: Catalyst is going downhill. Maybe we need to increase the ABC stipend to 9c/person/day.
Permalink trollop 
March 10th, 2005
Christ.

Maybe we should outlaw pencils, too. People can use them to DRAW child porn.
Permalink muppet 
March 10th, 2005
I'm surprised they didn't say that terrorists pass attack plans to each other inside child pornography.
Permalink Flasher T 
March 10th, 2005
"Maybe we should outlaw pencils, too. People can use them to DRAW child porn."

Actually, I think they had a case about that not too long ago - Computer generated child porn. That was one of those cases that makes you really grit your teeth for defending someone else's right to free speech.
Permalink Cory Foy 
March 10th, 2005
This is old, older than Snow Crash, older than Cryptonomicon. All we have to do is outlaw the use of XOR and then it would be impossible...
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 10th, 2005
And we should outlaw microwave ovens, because people will use them to dry their poodles.
Permalink Peter 
March 10th, 2005
Quite true Cory, but it would be understandable as to why someone would say it should be allowed. Although the majority of us would find it icky whether or not it was real, I also think most should recognize that it is the damage done to the participants that is the real crime. If there are no participants, I suppose you are only guilty of being a freak. On that note, I think legalizing such technology could have quite an upswing. You could build backdoors into it and track usage so that we know who we should be keeping an eye on. ;)

Computers can be used to store illegal info. Digital cameras can prevent the need for anyone else to 'filter' it. Guns can kill people. So can knives. So can rocks. So can fire.

Time and time again history has shown that most technological advances can be used for good and evil. I think the litmus test for the condoned usage of any technology should be something along the lines of a comparison of the levels of legitimate vs. illegitimate use.

At least in the case of file sharing, I think U.S. policy and law makers/interpreters seem to share that view. Napster was closed largely because it only shared music. By adding all file formats, other p2p was viewed with less disdain as it had increased possibility (if not actual levels of) legitimate usage.
Permalink I am Jack's legit litmus 
March 10th, 2005
Isn't steganography what they use in court rooms to keep records of what happened?
Permalink Okay. Maybe not. 
March 10th, 2005
Cover our eyes with a shield, dam up our ears with lead, and chop off our fingers. The polymorphously pervese human is too dangerous for this world.
Permalink son of parnas 
March 10th, 2005
>Isn't steganography what they use in court rooms to keep records of what happened?
That is stenography.
Steganography is the method of predicting your future by reading the entrails of a stegasaurus. Or maybe it is the art of hiding information in pictures. Or maybe it is the art of decision making by impaling virgin poodles on the backs of stegasaurs.

http://www.buddycom.com/dinos/3d03/stegasaur2.jpg
http://www.jjtc.com/Steganography/
Permalink Peter 
March 10th, 2005
---"Maybe we should outlaw pencils, too. People can use them to DRAW child porn"----

The British and the Americans actually refused to allwo the import of pencils into Iraq. The excuse was they could tke the graphite out to build nuclear reactors
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 10th, 2005
Wow. That would be an incredible pain in the ass.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 10th, 2005
trollop, I wouldn't pay any attention to catalyst. It's one of those taxpayer-funded shows where the reporters think they're cutting edge because they read Popular Science.

The (Australian) ABC needs a good shake-up.
Permalink aussie bloke 
March 10th, 2005
We should also probably outlaw art and literature because they could be used to transmit subversive messages that aren't obvious at first glance. Fans of the Bible think it's full of those kinds of codes.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 10th, 2005
OK, the threat dwindled somewhat in the full light of day. Too much sherry in the cook.

In perspective, stegonagraphy == cryptography, to be used and abused by good and bad hats. Yawn. It was the proposition that communications restrictions be introduced to simplify matters for Mr Plod and his security agency colleagues that had me rattled.

ab: speaking of rattles, that shake-up you want at the ABC has 8 cents bouncing around in an empty tin. Sometimes it shows, sometimes provides interesting cranial chewing gum e.g. http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1314925.htm
Permalink trollop 
March 10th, 2005
"The British and the Americans actually refused to allwo the import of pencils into Iraq. The excuse was they could tke the graphite out to build nuclear reactors"

Hm. Cite? I have a sneaking suspcion where this came from, but I'm wondering what you're thinking of.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 10th, 2005
Peter, Peter, Peter. I was kidding.

Actually, now I read all of your post I realise that you seem to have realised that. Why am I posting this?
Permalink I need a drink 
March 11th, 2005
---"Hm. Cite? I have a sneaking suspcion where this came from, but I'm wondering what you're thinking of."----

If you type in pencils + sanctions Iraq into Google you'll get more than enough quotes.

Didn't seem to be a very effective measure. Everybody went off collecting pencils for Iraq (the Spanish send 2M and the Jordanians 3.5M) and probably caused the deforestation of half of Finland in the process.

It was idiocies like the pencils ban that discredited sanctions and meant people were quite prepared to ignore the UN.

It also explains why outside the US the predominant view of the UN is that of a US stooge.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 11th, 2005
Bureaucracy... The pencils ban is because of bureaucracy:

http://www.despair.com/meetings.html
Permalink I am Jack's pencil punch 
March 11th, 2005
" And we should outlaw microwave ovens, because people will use them to dry their poodles."

Less poodles would be a bad thing?
Permalink Don't call PETA, it's only a joke 
March 11th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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