JoeRess Podcast #12


Encryption, E-waste and a tin foil test

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Isaac rejoined Twitter and Joe went on the Ubuntu Podcast and produced an episode of Linux Luddites which included an interview with Jonathan Riddell.


News and discussion

Australian Law Could Criminalize the Teaching of Encryption

UK crypto firm relocates over ‘Snooper’s Charter’ fears

Tech industry redoubles efforts to fight US gov’t encryption backdoors

Joe doesn’t understand why anyone would waste their time watching people play games on Twitch. Isaac sees things differently.


Isaac mentioned a video of a man swatting down a quadcopter. is dead and Joe hasn’t found a replacement yet.

We said we would link to a couple of stories about the geopolitics of remote islands.



Thanks to Ronald Houk, Leigh and Steve Engledow for getting in touch.


If you want to get in contact, you can email me at JoeRessPodcast at Gmail.

Speak soon.

7 thoughts on “JoeRess Podcast #12”

  1. I agree with Joe that you are unlikely to be prosecuted for viewing a stream of copyrighted material, but I also agree with Isaac that it’s still illegal to do so. I couldn’t tell if Joe agreed with that or not. After picking up bad habits in college, I eventually decided to go “straight” regarding online legal issues, so now I mostly stream PBS, Amazon and Netflix, and I don’t bother with saved media files (I don’t want to download illegally, but also I don’t want to bother with ripping DVD’s/streams and maintaining a large file collection). I wonder if there is any contradiction in copyright holders trying hard to use DRM to keep you from doing anything more with a stream other than watching it and also saying that it is illegal to view an unlicensed stream. If I don’t actually have a right to the content that I am viewing in a stream, then I can’t really be stealing it when viewing it in an unlicensed stream (but an unlicensed stream is usually easier to record permanently I am guessing).

    I plug my laptop into my TV to watch videos, but I am interested in the idea of a home theater pc. Do you guys have any thoughts on what the cheapest computer you could get is that would not be painful to use to stream video via HTML5/Flash/Pipelight? My impression is that the new Pi might be a little underpowered for this but maybe something similar like an Odroid with a little bit better CPU might work. It sounds like Isaac has switched to Genesis, but I would be curious to hear if he tries out any mainstream streaming services like Netflix or PBS with Kodi.

    I feel similarly to Isaac about encryption in that I would like to learn more about it before I am no longer able to. I don’t know that much about the various implementations. I have heard good things about Bruce Schneier’s books on the subject. Maybe an online course in cryptography would be a good idea as well.

    I agree with Joe that state actors can read anything they really want to, but I don’t think that means we should give up and make it easy for them. Keeping strong cryptography in daily use forces the various spy agencies to choose targets and devote resources to monitoring them. If the backdoors are too accessible, they can just listen to and parse everything in close to real time which gives them much greater control over all of us. By the way, here is one security expert’s take on the current state of iPhone encryption, though Joe would say this is only the official story and that some entities have an unknown backdoor access: One point that I think is always important to stress with the encryption/backdoor discussions is that they will come back to bite us down the road. We have enough trouble with bugs causing security holes. Intentionally adding controlled security holes just makes the situation much worse since the wrong people will eventually get access to those holes as well.

    I used to watch online games four or five years ago. I would watch turn based strategy games where the streamer would discussion his strategy as he went along. I would watch games that I played myself, so the videos were instructive. The extra benefits of watching rather than playing were that the game cost money to play and I didn’t have to pay to watch, I learned a lot from watching an expert that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own, and I could watch for a half hour while eating and then come back later whereas I could not do that if I were playing live against another person. I stopped because I had other demands on my time and stopped playing games myself, so watching them became less interesting.

      1. I’d also be curious hear if Isaac comes to any conclusions about encryption. I think Joe’s right that the convenience factor is almost insurmountable given that not only do you have to deal with it yourself but you have to get everyone you communicate to join in as well. Here is one good resource on various approaches to email encryption:

        Joe’s problem of accessing email from multiple locations could probably be addressed by using something like Mailpile as a webmail client on a VPS. You would still use another mainstream email provider that supports IMAP as the main email host and have the Mailpile client pull down the encrypted messages from that and decrypt them on the VPS, so you could access them from anywhere as long as the VPS stayed up (you’d use the mainstream email provider so that even if there were any issues with the VPS mail would still be received and so that you could send out mail without worried about the VPS getting blacklisted as a spammer which seems to be a common problem; hopefully the mainstream provider would also filter out unencrypted spam emails for you before they got to your VPS). Still even if you set all this up, you’d need the other people you communicate with to do it as well in order for you to communicate with other people in encrypted form.

        It might be more realistic to try not to use email. Programs like Snapchat, WhatsApp, etc are pretty popular for communication and starting over from scratch rather than supporting the existing email framework allows for encryption to be built in from the beginning. I wouldn’t use those two I just mentioned, but there are other options that seem to be fairly well regarded by information security experts, like Telegram and Signal.

        1. Oh, and the main problem with not using email is that everybody is splintered into little groups of users. We need a new standard that can work across different apps, so that you don’t have to have Snapchat, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, etc all installed at once.

  2. Hey guys, great show! I just did a Google search on the word “encryption” and guess what… Joe’s Google+ announcement of this episode came up on the first page. I’d say the writing’s on the wall for you two. Only a matter of time now!

    On the topic of ubiquitous encrypted email… I made a run at using signed and encrypted email on my mintCast email address to see how much trouble it was going to be. As Joe pointed out, one of the issues is device related. It was pretty straightforward to get my Thunderbird client to use OpenPGP by using the Enigmail plug-in. On Android i used K-9 Mail with APG as the OpenPGP provider. What I lost was the ability to use a webmail browser-based client. For me that’s a relatively small loss, but may not be so for others.

    The other issue I encountered was in figuring out the whole “web of trust” thing. How do you know that the PGP key you have for a “person” is really them? Most of the people I correspond with online are people I have never met offline. I know there are key-signing parties and such, but they all take a long time to get orchestrated. When I get a signed email from, say Isaac, how do I know it’s really him and not some 12-year-old from New Jersey? (Oh, wait, maybe Isaac *is* a 12-year-old from NJ!) You get my drift.

  3. What’s the point in watching online video games Joe… ? Isn’t it so much better to play a game oneself, rather than watching others play and have all the fun? Well, yes and no… We already watch others play games and have done so for, well, thousands of years (at least since the ancient Greeks). We watch others play football and tennis and (god forbid) ice hockey! Is there really a fundamental difference between watching a video game online and watching ‘Jeux sans Frontiers’ on the telly? Watching a game is watching a game…we watch others because we admire great skill and strength and the strategy that may be shown. You may object however, that a video game is merely an intellectual game (with a wee bit of hand and finger dexterity thrown in for good measure) and that football and tennis and so on, are physical games… true, but then chess tournaments are wholly intellectual and even they draw an audience. Hey Joe, what’s the point of listening to that guitar riff when you can play a better riff yourself? What’s the point of listening to Maria Callas when you can sing in the shower… ? I don’t get it, I just don’t get it… Hmmm… What’s the point of listening to a podcast when…. well, maybe one day.
    Anyway gentlemen, I really enjoy your podcast – many thanks for the listening pleasure. And greetings from the French Alps!

  4. Hey guys. I’m a new listener and really like the show. Just wanted to point out with the tin foil experiment that your phone will continue to ring when wrapped in foil instead of going directly to voicemail. When your phone is powered off, it still pings the tower to let it know it’s powered off, so it goes straight to VM. When it’s wrapped in foil, no signal escapes, so it will continue to ring on the dialer’s end in the event that the recipient is temporarily out of a service area.

    Keep up the good work, gents!

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