This weekend several of my friends and I had the privilege of running the CryptoParty for B-Sides MSP. It wasn’t the first CryptoParty I’ve either hosted or helped host but all of the previous ones were for various libertarian groups. I cannot properly express the difference between being a part of a CryptoParty with security professionals versus libertarians. Unlike the libertarian CryptoParties I’ve been involved with, none of the people at B-Sides MSP went on a tirade about how the otherwise entirely incompetent government can magically crack all crypto instantly.
Libertarians like to consider themselves the paragons of personal responsibility. However, time and again, I see that a lot of libertarians putting more effort into making excuses for their laziness than doing anything productive. Using secure communication tools is one of these areas where supposedly responsible libertarians like to be entirely irresponsible. This is kind of ironic because libertarians tend to be the ones bitching about government surveillance the loudest.
It was during the CryptoParty at B-Sides MSP that I made a decision. From now on I’m going to call out lazy libertarians. Whenever I host or otherwise participate in a CryptoParty for libertarians and one of them goes off about the incompetent government suddenly being incredibly competent I’m just going to tell them to shut the fuck up so the adults can continue talking. If you are a libertarian and you sincerely oppose government surveillance then prove your sincerity by utilizing the really awesome and very effective tools we have available to secure our communications. Use Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) to encrypt your e-mails, call people with Red Phone or Signal, send text messages with TextSecure or Signal, and encrypt your computer and mobile device’s storage. Unless you’re doing these things I can’t take any claims you make about hating government surveillance seriously. If you want to be lazy and make up conspiracy theories that’s your thing but I am going to call your ass out for it.
Actual security professionals, some of whom knew a hell of a lot more about cryptography than me (not that that’s very hard), took these tools seriously and so should as well. The only people claiming that the government can break all cryptography instantly are conspiracy theorists who know absolutely dick about cryptography and people wanting to justify their laziness. Don’t be either of those. Instead embrace the personal responsibility libertarians like to tout and take measures to make government surveillance more expensive.