Happy privacy news even paranoids could love

Perk up, buttercup -- the Blackphone and MIT researchers offer glimmers of hope amid our NSA- and hack-filled landscape

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Then I remembered the Swiss. I've been dinging the concept of a completely secure data vault that would work like the banks pioneered by the same mountain people with complete privacy, total security, and impenetrable legal immunity. My objection: It likely wouldn't just be a data haven for us law abiders, but also for pedophiles, terrorists, and sophisticated criminal geniuses like Lucas Duplan.

But given how the NSA, Facebook, and Google have been worming their digital tendrils into the very recesses of my dreams, I'm willing to overlook that little side effect and instead concentrate on the fact that the sweet Swiss made it happen in the same secret underground bunker where Hitler probably stored his collection of hobo genitals. (Yes, I know the nation was neutral, but if RSA is will to whore itself out, I can't believe some Swiss politicians weren't morally vulnerable.) At least there's one place I could house my vacation photos without fear that a government nerd tech won't analyze them for signs of potentially subversive independent thought.

A light at the end of the tunnel

Then, at last, I found a truly heartening story. This one detailed a new encryption algorithm being developed at MIT that not only protects your data, but also delivers fake data to hackers to lead them to a dead end. I love this. According to the article, the glorious crypto-geeks at MIT aren't alone. Another scheme is being built by an ex-RSA employee and a professor from the University of Wisconsin to detect hack attempts and respond by dumping enough gobbledygook on the offending digi-hunchback to make them burst into tears and crawl back to Internet porn.

It's not a lot, but it still made me feel better. The ex-white-hats-turned-gut-wrenchingly-pitch-dark-black-hats may currently be overwhelming us, but at least we're onto them and some good folks in rebel basement labs are working on ways to screw them up. Whew! Now I can go back to ignoring all these problems and figure out how to get my news and unwittingly give more information on my personal interests to Facebook.

This article, "Happy privacy news even paranoids could love," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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