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Osama bin Laden, the Web, and Encryption.

By Estanislao Martínez in MLP
Thu Feb 08, 2001 at 10:48:17 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

Yahoo is carrying a Reuters Story about Osama bin Laden, and terrorist groups in general, "using popular web sites to post encrypted messages to their agents plotting guerrilla activities". Reportedly, encryped messages are being put in open bulletin boards, or in graphic images not apt for family viewing.

This sounds both like an argument for freeing up encryption ("the bad guys have it already") and an excuse for locking it up further ("we must stop more bad guys from getting it").

The Yahoo Full Coverage section on Osama bin Laden has more articles.

So. Anybody notice any encrypted postings recently on your favorite boards?


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Osama bin Laden, the Web, and Encryption. | 53 comments (39 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE----- (2.86 / 15) (#1)
by cp on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 04:03:21 AM EST

Version: GnuPG v1.0.4 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: For info see http://www.gnupg.org


PGP Replies (2.85 / 7) (#3)
by Miniluv on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 04:13:42 AM EST

Version: PGPfreeware 6.5.8 for non-commercial use
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"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]
Encrypted Message to Article Author (3.00 / 11) (#2)
by iCEBaLM on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 04:08:30 AM EST

For Uncle Cameron Koontz:
One of Freddys wagons is too heavy to heave everywhere. Can Raymond offer some support? Perhaps one should try implanting new gears? Freddy runs over mud. Simply list any supplies he doesn't own today.

-- iCEBaLM

Correction: (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by cp on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 04:39:04 AM EST

"One of freddy's wagons" should say "one from freddy's wagons".

[ Parent ]
Do you... (2.16 / 6) (#4)
by garethwi on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 04:18:41 AM EST

...sell filter tipped bootlaces? The sun shines here only during the night. I thought he wore a panama.

ebg13 - onfr64 - tmvc (2.90 / 10) (#5)
by pb on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 04:21:49 AM EST


"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
See! It's true! (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by your_desired_username on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 09:52:34 AM EST

oh my god!! did you read that? that's Osama bin ladin himself. He says he'll paint a mustache on the Statue of Liberty. Somebody alert the ATF!

[ Parent ]
For the lazy: (3.66 / 3) (#21)
by YellowBook on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 10:33:13 AM EST

The above message reads:

I don't see the point in posting an encrypted response that no one will read. I mean, who will go through the time and trouble to decrypt all of these PGP-encoded posts? I'm sure that cracking the encryption on some of them could take months. While this is arguably a better approach than security through obscurity, it is overkill for a simple message board. Don't encrypt it when you don't have to, especially if you want others to read your posts...

Command line to decode it is:
caesar 13 | mimencode -u | gzip -d
then paste in the message and hit C-d.

Of course, the important thing is that we now know that pb is Osama bin Laden.

[ Parent ]
Regulation and Benefits of encryption (two parts) (4.25 / 8) (#9)
by jesterzog on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 05:44:52 AM EST

This topic has been done to death over the ages so at the risk of sounding a little stereotypical, here goes.

Part one - why regulation probably won't work

I guess the obvious fears that society has had - that terrorists will use encryption to hide messages from authority - are finally surfacing. Yes it's happening, and it might make the job easier for secret service agencies if they had control over encryption. They might not be able to stop people using it, but one thing that has been requested is a requirement for the (probably US) government to have a back door into all developed encryption techniques, so it can be decrypted immediately with a warrant.

Even then it's sketchy though. There's no reason anyone who wanted to couldn't use older, "unprotected" software that didn't have the back door, and simply pump up the encryption strength. Then there's open source cryptography, or they could just write their own. (The USA and allies aren't the only countries in the world with good coders, and some leaders who hate the US have lots of money.)

In the end though, I think it comes down to the same argument as with something like gun restrictions - except probably an even stronger argument. By restricting cryptography, it restricts the law-abiding citizens. But given the ability for information to get around, it would be virtually impossible to restrict the lawbreakers. For a terrorist, breaking an encryption law alongside everything else it is likely to be irrelevant. Unless encryption was completely banned, it would probably be hard to detect, too.

Part two - the benefits of encryption

I was able to get a letter published in the local newspaper a few months ago highlighting the benefits of encryption. I think it's a good to point out to people exactly why encryption is good, and it's not just a "the government is spying on me" type of thing.

Most people don't even realise that they put all sorts of information in a typical email. Names, addresses, phone numbers, their salaries and net worth, how old their children are, when they'll be away on holiday, and the list goes on.

Anyone in the right place can intecept said emails and other internet traffic, and if it's not encrypted then it's relatively simple to track some information down. Now while your typical hacker/cracker/manager isn't necessarily as likely to break into your home as some other people, it's an important point that information can be sold.

Want a list of all the houses in your suburban area where nobody will be home on the weekend? For a small fee, it might not be too long before some people will do some data mining for a small fee.

It's very difficult to use encryption at the moment, because (simply) nobody else does. I usually digitally sign my emails just for show, and when anybody asks about it, I can give them my little talk and reasoning about it.

Ideally it needs some large companies to get more involved though. If someone like Mircosoft built encryption into Outlook, for example, generating keys for people as part of the setup and switching it on by default, there would be a lot more people using it as habit.. even if they didn't know exactly how it worked or what it was for.

Another thing I think would be quite cool is if it became common for ISP's and domain holders to run their own keyservers for addresses at their domain. When I want ot email someone I can just go and grab their public key directly. It wouldn't solve all the possible problems, but it'd be a big step ahead for trust than having big, centralised keyservers.

Cryptography doesn't solve all the privacy problems on the Internet, but it's a big step in the right direction. I'd certainly rather have cryptography for my own legitimate use than not have it, and see criminals using it anyway.

jesterzog Fight the light

Budget time again (3.00 / 10) (#11)
by Paul Johnson on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 05:57:29 AM EST

I think this has more to do with budgets than real threats. The TLAs (Three Letter Agencies) need to justify their expenditure, so they point to anything that might be a threat. The current bogeyman is bin Laden. Before that it was drug runners, and before that it was the good old Soviet Union.

These people are very good at political grandstanding because anyone not good at it gets their budget cut.

So I don't expect any serious attempts to control crypto coming out of this particular round, just a budget line item for an Electronic Warfare Centre or something for the CIA or NSA.

You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.

wheee! (3.66 / 18) (#12)
by Beorn on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 06:24:44 AM EST

All this follows a familiar pattern. But do not despair. Osamas terrorist forces will fail in the end. Raving fundamentalists are no match for glorious american imperialists! Trust the new administration to clear things up. Pray that their vengeance is swift and merciless. Like a watchful eagle in the sky, american intelligence sees all, hears all! As a decently beardless western materialist since I was born, I know what I'm talking about. Nobody, neither that dirty dog nor his scheming collaborators stands a chance against our electrical washing machines or motorized vehicles.

Brothers of the true christian faith: We have too long been subjected to the whims of unbelievers. End it now, or we shall suffer the consequences.

Have faith in our glorious security forces, but do not forget that evil must be fought on all levels! At the movie house, as well as the fast-food drive-by. Vehicles of evil pass our borders every day. Even in our holy christian temples we are not safe from the enemies of imperialism. Beelzebubs servants come in all shapes and disguises. Everyone has an obligation to stay alert. Everyone has a duty to report suspicious activities. Neighbour suddenly growing a beard and rejecting materialism? Call the security police! Only united shall we defend our luxurious way of life.

Many here will doubt my words. Pray that you do not live to see the folly of your unwestern ways. Rats of the desert, your cowardice knows no limits, so jolly me good! Others laugh at your petty naivety. Mothers cry as you give up your homeland. I shall build a wall against foreign terrorism. Send out the word: Everyone must participate. Death to all terrorists.

- beorn (nothing intelligent to say about this)

[ Threepwood '01 ]

Absolutely! (1.00 / 2) (#36)
by khallow on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 02:44:21 PM EST

Between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of iqlusion.

It was totally invisible.

How's that possible? They used the earth's magnetic field. x The information was gathered and transmitted undergruund to an unknown location. x Does Langley know about this? They should: it's buried out there somewhere. x Who knows the exact location? Only WW. This was his last message. x Thirty-eight degrees fifty-seven minutes six point five seconds north, seventy-seven degrees eight minutes forty-four seconds west. ID by rows.

Slowly, desparatly slowly, the remains of passage debris that encumbered the lower part of the doorway was removed.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Technology moves on, and we stay the same (3.20 / 10) (#13)
by slaytanic killer on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 06:44:22 AM EST

Next thing you know, they'll be putting secret messages in the personals sections of England's Sunday Times. Maybe I'll go and read Sherlock Holmes stories for old times' sake.

On a related note... (4.14 / 14) (#15)
by theboz on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 08:51:41 AM EST

...studies show that the majority of bank robbers use these horrible devices called automobiles to escape from the police. We here at Reuters don't care that there are more valid uses for cars than escaping from police, but we want to scare people against technology and want to make a more shocking story.


Obligatory post from one of those evil gun owners (4.46 / 15) (#18)
by finkployd on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 10:03:39 AM EST

As a gun owner (a minority on K5, I know, hear me out) this kind of slanted story is nothing new to me. It's a simple procedure: Take a concept or object that can be (and is) used for perfectly legal purpose by law abiding people, and show that some bad guys are using it to aid them in breaking the law and demonize the whole thing.

Judging how easily this kind of story can shape public mindset on the issue of firearms, you guys who support encryption and anonymous speech are screwed. Prepare to be assumed a criminal or wacko for simply supporting something as dangerous as encryption and blasted for your irreponsible views on anonymous speech. I'm sure in the future the public will be flooded with blantently inaccurate stats as "anything encrypted 70% likely to be some kind of illegal, criminal message" and "there is no legitimate use for anonymous speech, anyone who wants it must be doing something illegal".

Won't someone please think of the children!

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
Guns v Encryption (3.16 / 6) (#23)
by tailchaser on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 11:30:59 AM EST

Methinks you picked a poor topic to compare to. => I understand that you're trying to make a point in general about biases in stories, but guns aren't the best analogy:
  • 3-year olds can't encrypt themselves to death.
  • You can't encrypt someone into the hospital to get their shoes.
  • How many people are wounded each year because of encryption accidents?
Anything can be used for illegal or destructive ends - some things just happen to be more naturally inclined towards it than others. Any news article will always be biased, because the writers are human beings. There's a line, granted, between real news, biased as it may be, and FUD, but this is certainly news.

[ Parent ]
My point (4.60 / 5) (#25)
by finkployd on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 11:39:53 AM EST

My intent was not to compare guns to encryption (that would be downright silly), but to compare the media treatment of the two. Both are legal (for now) and both have legitmate uses (a matter of opinion I guess) but both have been used illegally and are viewed as dangerous by some. The media seems to like to latch onto things like this so the public is never going to here how encryption is used for the forces of good (much like you never hear about all the times guns are used to stop robbers, rapists, etc), they will only hear about encryption in the context of a terrorist, child pornographer, etc. using it to evade the law and commit their crimes more easily.

It's not so much a bias in the way stories are reported so much as WHAT stories are reported.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
What's reported (3.75 / 4) (#27)
by tailchaser on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 12:08:53 PM EST

It's not so much a bias in the way stories are reported so much as WHAT stories are reported.

I'd venture a guess that few news stories discuss encryption simple because few people use encryption, while few stories praise guns because they're such a commonplace item that they don't draw specific attention. That is to say, an article about local police stopping a robbery wouldn't go out of the way to add, "Captain Smith said, 'If we didn't have guns, the situation would have been much worse'" - it's simply assumed that the armed forces are...well...armed. =>

Guns as a legal tool hold no "newsworthy" value, in terms of what the writers think would attract their audience. By the same token, no news service would announce proudly that "Mr. F. Bar Uses Encryption, Protects Privacy", while they'd jump all over "Mr. F. Bar Uses Encryption, Plots Terrorist Attack" - but the same would hold true with s/encryption/rollerskates/.

-tailchaser apologizes if his thoughts are fractured, he's writing a sentance at a time inbetween clients

[ Parent ]

Does the parallel hold? (none / 0) (#47)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Feb 08, 2001 at 02:13:16 PM EST

Both [encryption and guns] are legal (for now) and both have legitmate uses (a matter of opinion I guess) but both have been used illegally and are viewed as dangerous by some.

Maybe you just phrased this wrong, but what's an illegal usage of encryption?

Shooting somebody coold-bloodedly is an illegal use of a gun to commit a crime, murder. Encrypting child porn is, I imagine, something different, if you have a right to encrypt you communications-- a legal use of encryption to commit an illegal act, distribution of child porn.

That is, if you were tried for sending out encrypted child porn, could you be charged and found guilty for both distribution of child pornography, and some other crime like "usage of encryption technology for illegal ends"?

[ Parent ]

Good point... (none / 0) (#49)
by threshold on Fri Feb 09, 2001 at 08:26:59 AM EST

Good point, but that only helps the gun is like encryption agrument. Shooting someone isn't illegal, murdering someone or attempting to murder someone is. And encrpyting child porn isn't illegal, only possesing it is. Its like the method isn't illegal, only the result. As it should be. Napster shouldn't be illegal but songs whose copyright owner hasn't given permission for them to be is. A hammer isn't illegal but killing someone with it is.

Open Source, Open Standards, Open Minds
[ Parent ]
WTF!?!?!?!?!?!?!? (none / 0) (#52)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sun Feb 11, 2001 at 06:17:04 PM EST

Good point, but that only helps the gun is like encryption agrument. Shooting someone isn't illegal, murdering someone or attempting to murder someone is.

Well, then try to go around out on the street randomly shooting at people, but deliberately missing.

Shooting someone defensively is not illegal. If somebody can show in court that you did not shoot to defend, or that there were reasonable alternatives to shooting at the moment, then you can be convicted. Hell, even pointing a gun at somebody is illegal unless it is done in defense.

That is, for shooting someone to be legal, very special circumstances have to hold-- you can't randomly shoot people. However, you can randomly encrypt stuff if you are so inclined.

Its like the method isn't illegal, only the result. As it should be. Napster shouldn't be illegal but songs whose copyright owner hasn't given permission for them to be is. A hammer isn't illegal but killing someone with it is.

Faulty thinking typical of pro-gun advocates. This runs against the facts that I cite above, as it should be. Because they are designed to be very deadly and portable weapons, the rules to which guns are subject are much more restrictive than those hammers are. You just can't set that fact aside.

As it happens, the rules for using cars (the favorite invalid example of irrational gun advocates) are much more restrictive than those for using hammers, too.

[ Parent ]

But that's just the bias... (4.50 / 4) (#31)
by weirdling on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 12:58:07 PM EST

3-year olds shooting each other is newsworthy precisely because it is so rare, yet is used to justify removing guns. Gun accidents are correspondingly rare and rarely reported if involving adults.
See, in order to make the statistics newsworthy, our famous ex-president and Handgun Control International both decided to include any situation in which the target is known to the shooter, which is, of course, over 90% of all homicides. Now, make a child anyone under eighteen, and you have neatly turned every single drug shooting into an accidental discharge. True accidental discharges kill fewer children than diseases such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. True accidental discharges kill way fewer children than the deadly combination of alcohol and automobiles.
Anyway, I think the point was to demonstrate that there already is a collection of law-abiding citizens who have faced exactly this kind of persecution, and that if the enemies of encryption are as ruthless and dishonest as the enemies of guns, you can expect it to get a lot nastier and a lot less intelligent quick. Your mark one activist understands that the truth does not matter; the spin does.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Well, DUH! (3.77 / 9) (#22)
by jabber on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 11:10:33 AM EST

The people who know a little bit about the technology know that this is a steaming pile. We know that if encryption is outlawed, only outlaws will have encryption - and all that jazz..

The reason this is being publicised is to build up a little bit of fear in the 'common folk', so they would be more supporting of the (impending) legislation to regulate the Internet.

Few people 'accidentally' stumble across pornography, but we still have righteous freaks calling for filtering of the net to "protect the children". Terrorists will communicate by any means that exist. If that is what it takes, they will send each other Morse code messages hidden in the frequency of explosions of Federal Buildings. They'll put cello-tape X's on their windows. They'll send a freaking letter - since mail tampering is a Federal offense in most countries.

It's spin-doctoring to win ignorant's support for increased regulation. And, as someone else already pointed out, an opportunity to get some funds for 'research into countermeasures' .

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

The propoganda has started. (none / 0) (#46)
by mauftarkie on Thu Feb 08, 2001 at 12:06:44 PM EST

It's spin-doctoring to win ignorant's support for increased regulation.

The way the local news reported this, you think they were calling for the banning of chat rooms (after all, only children, pedophiles, and now TERRORISTS use chat rooms!) and adult websites (because they're immoral and TERRORISTS use them).

The way this whole thing is being reported makes me sick to my stomach. I'm starting to get an inkling what it might have been like to live in the McCarthy Era. This isn't news to anyone who is a little 'Net savvy, but the conspiracist in me thinks this is the first step in an attempt to regulate information on the Internet... which we all know can't happen.


Without you I'm one step closer to happiness without violence.
Without you I'm one step closer to innocence without consequence.

[ Parent ]
Not about terrorism. (3.00 / 6) (#26)
by Seumas on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 12:06:21 PM EST

If the US Government really cared about terrorism, they'd be strong-arming the countries hiding the bastards who do things such as bombing US cruisers and killing a dozen and a half innocent sailors.

Ten years ago, if I were in a foreign country and abducted by some terrorist cell, I'd feel pretty comfortable that my country would be there to help me -- not allowing anyone anywhere to jeapordize its people.

Now, I'd expect them to pretend I didn't exist and sweep the whole thing under the rug.

What they government is really interested in is killing encryption for its own citizens. Domestic privacy is the greatest threat to national control. Terrorist groups and the fear that they apparently strike in some people in the states is simply a convenient carrier for their cause.
I just read K5 for the articles.

innocent sailors? (3.25 / 4) (#39)
by dice on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 04:11:42 PM EST

sailors on war ships in foreign waters are not innocent. they're a symbol of the arrogance and pride of the US, and a really easy way to show that the US should not try to act as the world's police force.

they shouldn't have been there in the first place.

[ Parent ]
It's not arrogance... (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by physicsgod on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 09:58:33 PM EST

It's physics. Ships need energy to move, energy that comes from fuel, fuel that ships need to replenish from time to time in a port, like Yemen. Now if the US were to take over a port city so they could refuel their ships at convenient locations, that would be arrogant.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
the point... (none / 0) (#43)
by dice on Thu Feb 08, 2001 at 12:13:45 AM EST

you missed the point.

there was no reason for them to be anywhere near yemen.

[ Parent ]
YOU missed the point (none / 0) (#50)
by physicsgod on Sun Feb 11, 2001 at 02:46:54 AM EST

They were in Yemen to get gas. Not every ship in the Navy is nuclear, and the rest need to fuel up every umpity-odd thousand miles. By your logic a man who gets gunned down in a Texaco is to blame for his death because he had no reason to be anywhere near that Texaco.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Just a question... (none / 0) (#44)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Feb 08, 2001 at 02:24:09 AM EST

Now if the US were to take over a port city so they could refuel their ships at convenient locations, that would be arrogant.

Eh... Do the names Hawaii, Guam, Philippines, Guantánamo, Puerto Rico, or Okinawa ring a bell?

[ Parent ]

Ding, Dong. (none / 0) (#51)
by physicsgod on Sun Feb 11, 2001 at 02:48:58 AM EST

Hey, I never said the US was perfect, but I'd like to think we've outgrown that unfortunate stage of development. Instead of taking over the port we wanted we talked to the government in charge and agreed to buy fuel from them. Much more mature.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
What is there to outlaw? (5.00 / 7) (#30)
by SIGFPE on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 12:42:07 PM EST

RSA was published decades ago. It takes about 3 lines of writing to describe the algorithm to someone with a modicum of number theory knowledge. RSA is about as secure as it gets. Steganography is also fairly easy to implement. So how could outlawing encryption have even the slightest impact on a terrorist who wants to use it?
This does not surprise me. (4.75 / 8) (#34)
by Anonymous 6522 on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 01:43:00 PM EST

If Reuters has a story saying "Osama bin Laden's international terrorist force uses absolutely no encryption, whatsoever, and they plan their bombings on publicly accessible newsgroups" then I would be suprised.

Heck, I use PGP, and it's not like I have anything to hide from the government, so I would expect terrorists and the like to use it. They'd just be asking to be caught otherwise.

As for posting the messages in public newsgroups, it seems to be just a variation of a dead drop. (That's were a spy would hide a message in some object, and then drop the object in a public place. Then another spy could pick it up, without having direct contact with the first spy.)

Paranoia in today's spin filled media. (3.60 / 5) (#38)
by Wiglaf on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 03:43:08 PM EST

Maybe I am getting cause and effect confused.....
I get the distinct feeling that this encryption scare going on didn't just up and spring out of nowheres. It feels like it has been pushed out there forcibly to bring attention to the issue so that a government entity can use this to strengthen their posistion in some way. Be it the congress getting a broader law passed, the pres being able to get public opinion to allow him to root out this dangerous group ie. "his own little war", or maybe some TLA(three letter agency) wants to get more funding.

Am I too paranoid?

Paul: I DOMINATE you to throw rock on our next physical challenge.
Trevor: You can't do that! Do you really think Vampires go around playing rock paper sissors to decide who gets to overpower one another?
NSA is either pushing it or an orpurtunist. (none / 0) (#53)
by Wiglaf on Mon Feb 12, 2001 at 08:25:37 PM EST

On my morning infobeat email seems like you were right. NSA talks about there lack of ability to keep up with the telecommunication's arms race.

Paul: I DOMINATE you to throw rock on our next physical challenge.
Trevor: You can't do that! Do you really think Vampires go around playing rock paper sissors to decide who gets to overpower one another?
[ Parent ]
Up it goes (2.33 / 3) (#40)
by phuqwit on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 04:40:29 PM EST

I voted for this one to go up a point for a particular reason - I don't think enough people are aware of this issue. Now, I would have to assume that about 90% + of the people reading kuro5hin know about encryption and free anonymous speech, etc., but I feel that the general public needs to see encryption for what it really is.

I stumbled across this site along time ago, when I was largely oblivious to many current trends in computing. I have to say that it has continued to make me aware of areas of new development, and it also points to the other side of the issue.

I think the most important thing that could come out of these comments is that ideas are brought forth on how to make the 'good' side of encryption available to the public, so they can see that those of us who are using it are not deviants, criminals, and terrorists.
=== You may or may not need to reboot in order to use this feature of Windows.
Seen any encrypted messages lately? (2.60 / 5) (#41)
by /dev/trash on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 05:04:20 PM EST

Why yes I have:

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Hang on just one minute.... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by DoubleEdd on Thu Feb 08, 2001 at 08:47:57 AM EST

How do they know its bin Laden? I mean... either his encryption is good enough that they don't know what it says, so they don't know its from him, or failing that they do know what it says and we can all laugh at him for being so technicack (n. cack at all things technical).

I could understand it a little if they'd traced the posting but then Osama bin Laden is still technicack for deciding to post to a board under US jurisdiction.

In other words, I don't believe it. The bottom line is, if they know he's sending these messages then chances are they have the capability to intercept them before they undergo encryption.

Interesting bin Laden related link (none / 0) (#48)
by Toojays on Thu Feb 08, 2001 at 09:13:51 PM EST

In other Osama bin Laden news, Cryptome has transcripts of the USA vs Osama bin Laden et al trial. It's boring but interesting at the same time. It's boring because there's so much to read, but interesting because the US DOJ have a witness who had been in bin Laden's organisation up until 1996. This guy at one stage arranged for the group to purchase some uranium.

The testimony of that witness sounds a lot like something straight from a Hollywood movie, except for the way he split from the group. His bosses found out he had embezelled $110,000 dollars from the group. They were upset, but bin Laden personally told him he would be forgiven if he repaid the money. He repaid what he could ($30,000) , pissed off to the US embassy, and cut a deal with the United States government. (Not a very good deal if you ask me, he's still awaiting sentencing for a conspiracy charge, although his testimony in this trial could allow them to waive jail time.)

One thing I don't get, not being a lawyer and all, is how can the case be against USAMA BIN LADEN, et al if they don't have bin Laden in custody? Didn't the Magna Carta say you can't do that?

Osama bin Laden, the Web, and Encryption. | 53 comments (39 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
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