Going Dark: New Email Technology To Easily Encrypt Everything

The unabashed abuse of privacy on the global scale is one of the most troubling invasions of our time. Now, one programmer is advocating a new paradigm of electronic communications that is simple and effective: "Dark Mail" that encrypts every email, every time.

Ladar Levison created the popular and secure email service Lavabit, which made news when he shut down the service entirely rather than cede to the goverment's demands that he surrender his security keys (which would have effectively undermined the entirety of the operation's purpose.) This happened hot on the heels of the Edward Snowden leaks, and since then no seriously secure single service has stepped forward to fill the gap. Now, as popularmechanics.com reports, Levison still wants to keep you covered.

In an interview posted today, Levison stated that everyone should be under the assumption that their electronic communications are being monitored at all times. This creepy but cruelly accurate statement is one that has yet to sink in for modern society, even though it means that everything from their (possibly "dangerous" and defamatory) private opinions to naked pictures are subject to scrutiny. He argues that the complexity of the e-communication infrastructure, coupled with the ease of cracking "endpoint security" (one's personal computer or device) makes things difficult for the average privacy-prone person. He has created "Dark Mail", a new encryption idea, to aid in spreading the powers of privacy.

As Levison explained:

"Dark Mail is really an effort to turn the world’s email dark—to make email encryption ubiquitous, universal, and automatic. The simplest explanation of what we’re doing is that we’re rewriting the protocols of email—the standard rules computers use for delivering email messages—so that messages are encrypted before they leave your computer and can’t be decrypted until they’ve reached the recipient’s computer. And because this is built into the system, there’s no cognitive burden. Grandma could use this—you don’t need to understand encryption or why it’s important. If someone can use email today, they will be able to use Dark Mail tomorrow."

Levison went on to elucidate that Dark Mail is not an email service, rather, it is a technology than any provider could implement. Expounding on PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) software, Dark Mail implements asymmetric cryptography techniques that use a public key (given to anyone who would like to send an automatically-message to a specific recipient) and a private key (theoretically, only the viewer of the message) to keep communications secure. Layers of anti-metadata technology to shake electronic position trackers are also in the works.

Levison went on to reference Phil Zimmerman, PGP's creator, and his lengthy police investigation and legal battle stemming from the creation of an encryption so strong that it was at first considered a munition (although the charges were eventually dropped.) On paper (and e-documents), there are laws that are in place to allow us this level of privacy.

Even if you feel you're doing nothing wrong, how do you know what those who would malign you are using against your favor? Why become a target just because you might be seeking knowledge that someone else deems illicit? Keep your privacy and your freedom close at hand, for both are valuable enough to be stolen.

If George W. Bush's personal oil painted nudies can be e-heisted, your info doesn't stand a chance. 

1 comment: