[messaging] Value of deniability

Eleanor Saitta ella at dymaxion.org
Thu Dec 11 08:11:45 PST 2014

Hash: SHA256

On 2014.12.11 05.52, Mike Hearn wrote:
> I think I agree with Eleanor that the costs of real deniability
> seem to radically outweigh the benefits, as anything that doesn't
> involve a simple on-screen editor for chat logs probably wouldn't
> be convincing, and that seems like a lot of effort and UI
> complexity.

I think the amount of engineering effort justifiable around
denability, given its all-but-nonexistent benefits, has almost
certainly been outweighed just in the conversations about it I have
personally seen, its ten year history as the laughingstock of the
larger security community notwithstanding.

> Moreover, I'm struggling to find a use case for this that doesn't 
> involve someone lying in court.

The set of instances where there is both a sufficient degree of rule
of law that any of this discussion is remotely relevant *and* where
defendants have the degree of sociopathy required to lie cleanly and
coherently in court and the cooperation of their lawyers while doing
so is fairly small.

> W.R.T being quoted out of context, that happens with private
> speech conversations all the time and hardly anyone ever says "I
> didn't say that", they say "I'm being quoted out of context, here's
> the full conversation".

Which, it's worth noting, is unlikely to be helped by cryptographic
properties one way or another.  Outside of this parish, no one asks to
check hashes before believing someone socially and it is implausible
they ever will.


- -- 
Ideas are my favorite toys.


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