It was a prescient comment that had preceded the Russian government’s on-going attempts beginning late last week to ban the use of the Telegram messenger application within its territory.
Edward Snowden had sat down with the organisers of Blockstack Berlin last month to discuss the infrastructure of privacy (as opposed to its politics), one purpose of which was to discuss the increasing inclination of “governments [to] move closer and closer to muscular intervention.”
Anonymity Needs “Attractive Products”
Barely over three weeks later, manifest signs of that muscular intervention appeared once more as Pavel Durov, founder of Telegram, found himself under pressure from Russian authorities to close down the messenger application, with Snowden subsequently tweeting praise for Durov as he continued to hold firm.
Whilst confirming that ZCash was his current anonymous crypto-currency of choice for some of its “interesting properties”, Snowden also highlighted to his German audience that the real issue for anonymity advocacy groups was not choosing the right tool, or “particular allegiances” but addressing the relative lack of general adoption.
Anonymous cryptos “need more teams, more projects, more users” the former CIA employee said, underlining the importance of “attractive products” in encouraging such adoption, whilst simultaneously voicing his frustrations at “tribal battles” occurring within crypto-anonymity circles over the finer details.
Emphasising that popular cryptographic tools remain vulnerable and currently have every major government engaging in research to find new methods to break them, he nonetheless finished on a point of optimism – “we know they’re still reliable,” referring to a host of as-yet still encrypted archives he had originally released to journalists in 2013.