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Fwd: [Cryptography] Schneier's Internet Security Agency - bad idea because we don't know what it will do

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Henry Baker <hbaker1 AT pipeline.com>
Date: Sun, Feb 26, 2017 at 4:16 PM
Subject: Re: [Cryptography] Schneier's Internet Security Agency - bad
idea because we don't know what it will do
To: Ian G <iang AT iang.org>
Cc: cryptography AT metzdowd.com

At 07:26 AM 2/25/2017, Ian G wrote:
>Bruce Schneier has recently published an impassioned plea for a United States Federal Internet Security Agency, which would likely gain control of civilian cryptography, among many other munitions.  The essay is impassioned, it is much longer than his normal 2 pagers, which signals something - belief, preparedness, foundation?

When I was growing up, there was a daily newspaper cartoon entitled
"There oughta be a law!"


However, after I grew up, studied computer science, and finally
understood *undecidability*, I realized that a "legal"/"lawful"
solution to every problem was logically and mathematically impossible.

Here we are 80+ years after undecidability raised its ugly head and
destroyed the "Age of Enlightenment"/"Age of Reason", and yet no legal
scholars, lawyers, economists, or public policy people living today
have even heard of this concept of undecidability, much less
understand that it renders most of their efforts more futile than

The Clockwork Economy/Clockwork Legal System -- in which bright lines
separate good from evil -- has been replaced by a mishmash of hills &
valleys separated by fractal "boundaries" which I defy you to
characterize in a finite lawbook.

I'm embarrassed for Bruce Schneier who certainly should know better;
perhaps this is a forgivable error which he will correct soon enough.
If not, I should begin to wonder if he's been taken over to the dark
side (aka the intel community), where fake news, disinformation and
extra-Constitutional excursions are considered honorable pursuits.

The bottom line: if you're attempting to oversee/regulate a
Turing-complete system (i.e., essentially *every* societal system),
adding additional "oversight" turtles to your toppling stack of
existing turtles won't help a bit.  I.e., if a Halting Problem oracle
doesn't exist, you can write all the laws you wish about creating a
Halting Problem Agency ("oracle"), but that won't make such an oracle
magically exist.

Even Abraham Lincoln understood that giving some impossible concept a
name doesn't make it exist:

When asked "How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a
leg?", Lincoln answered, "Four.  Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't
make it a leg."

Schneier should contemplate Gerald Ford's famous remark: "A government
big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough
to take from you everything you have."

Benjamin Franklin understood that the pursuit of safety/security was a
bottomless pit/hopeless exercise: "Those who would give up essential
Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither
Liberty nor Safety".

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