Decrypting the Internet and the Magic Zebra

In the unseemly haste to rush through a mixed bag of blunt draconian measures protect our noble civilisation, there’s talk once more of making sure that government surveillance agents can intercept and listen to all our internet traffic. While it’s rather unsporting to point out the complete lack of technical understanding that makes these measures impractical and self-defeating (even if we acknowledge that they’re a blatant land-grab by the surveillance state), commentators are universally ignoring the one secret ingredient that will make these plans a success.

A common retort against forcing all internet traffic out into the open, where it can be intercepted for our benefit and safety, is that the “back doors” we must build into our communication systems to allow snooping listening have no way of knowing if the person using them is a Goodie or a Baddy. Heaven forbid that any corruption could ever arise within our own ranks, or that the thin line between traitor and whistleblower could in any way be up for debate, but the thought of a horde of ill-kempt swarthy, foreign thugs appropriating our security system to their own swarthy, foreign ends certainly gives pause for thought.

Remember high speed bank robbery chases? A thing of the past…

But I say to these nay-sayers, think of the Bank Robbery. Yes, do you remember them? Armed men breaking into banks, and escaping in fast cars, with dangerous high speed chases and gun fights. A thing of the past, of course, thanks to the Magic Zebras installed by law in all modern cars that will prevent the engine from starting if the driver is Up To No Good. They work using Science of course, cooked up by our egg-headed boffins in their labs, so there’s no need for awkward questions about how they work. Just trust us. And likewise, there’s the Cornish Piskies fitted to modern firearms that only allow them to be used in the National Interest.

Well, now we’ve jogged your memory about that, you may be wondering what all the fuss about these security back doors is. Using lots of complicated sums on blackboards, of course the same technology can be applied to the internet, so that just in the same way that armed robbery and high-speed escapes no longer happen, Our Boys will be able to listen in to everything you say and do, with absolutely no possibility of wrongdoing.

Trust our know-how, and our judgement. You know you can.

Control room of a Fundamentalist Muslim Zeppelin hovering over Birmingham, England

INTERNET DISCLAIMER: Yes, this is satire. Please don’t take it literally (apart from the bit about the unicorn).

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