Hey Kids! Be A Snitch!
December 24, 2005 12:06 AM   Subscribe

CryptoKids Hey Kids! Want to learn about how to spy on your friends? Do you like to snitch on your siblings? Here's a fun site for you where the U.S. Government can start to let you know about the fun world of cryptography and violating the Fourth Amendment rights of your fellow citizens. For you parents, check out the NSA's Responsible Citizen page! Note the funny ellipses after the references to the Fourth Amendment and Government Oversight. Your tax dollars at work.
posted by Ironmouth (11 comments total)
Pretty sure it's a recent double, but can't find the FPP, probably for the same reason you couldn't find it.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:20 AM on December 24, 2005

You know, cryptanalysis and cryptography are just flipsides of the same coin in cryptology. It's a fascinating subject full of hardcore math; the existence site is no worse than than the NIH encouraging kids to be curious about biology. Furthermore, despite the current political climate over the last couple decades with the government taking advantage of technology to snoop into citizens' lives, breaking codes is an extremely important and legitimate part of ensuring national security, and hence training people in the field is a good thing; hell, it wins battles, and helps avoid wars. Sorry to rain on your parade, but the tone of the post is retarded (encryption research = a tendency to sell acquaintances out).
posted by Firas at 12:22 AM on December 24, 2005

I looked on both the Yahoo and Google searches with a couple of different spellings and word combos. The bot told me the link had never been used either. But the MeFi peoples may have found it before.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:24 AM on December 24, 2005

Firas, read the other link. It is a terrible attempt to make it seem like the NSA is not doing what it is doing. Placed in context, I think it is chilling.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:26 AM on December 24, 2005

Yeah, I'll conceed that. The NSA has been shady from the very start, if I remember correctly, even its existence was denied for a while?
posted by Firas at 12:31 AM on December 24, 2005

Yes, its existence was denied for a long time. For the record, I'm not opposed to the NSA or its job of breaking the codes of our enemies (and friends). But the current group of people running the country have overstepped the bounds of what these agencies should be doing. The NSA at best is showing a lack of sensitivity to the current climate and should be talking more about how what they are doing interacts with our constitutional rights.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:42 AM on December 24, 2005

I don't think it is actually a double, although the NSA has been linked a couple of times recently: Bush's executive order..., Listening in and Naming Names. it has been sitting on a tab in my MeFi window for days. I think I noticed it when looking at the NSA site through one of those two...

I'm going to spend a few minutes at boobah.tv.
posted by Chuckles at 4:22 AM on December 24, 2005

Maybe I'm missing something, but how is the site encouraging kids to spy on their friends? There's nothing there that I didn't see in activity books or encyclopedias as a kid. Codes and ciphers and a basic understanding of how one would go about breaking them are pretty elementary educational/brain-stretching tidbits.

Or were you intentionally being exaggeratedly alarmist?
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:56 AM on December 24, 2005

Ummm, on that second link ... rumor has it that the NSA story was linked by NSA professionals who seemed to have problems with the 4th amendment issues of the program.
So I don't find it incongrous at all, in fact (assuming the rumor is true, which I tend to suspect it is), I am reassured that there are government professionals who take their jobs and oaths seriously.

However, I do think that the oversight mechanisms need to be clear and trusted (and freaking used!).
posted by forforf at 9:26 AM on December 24, 2005

This post is fucking retarded. Cryptography is a very useful technology; what do you think protects your credit card details when you buy something on Amazon? In fact encryption is the only thing that protects your privacy online, not only from hackers but also the government. Encouraging kids to learn about it is a great thing.
posted by aerify at 2:52 PM on December 24, 2005

I'm stuck on the character biographies of the "Cryptokids." Seems to me like the author is working through some issues.

Here is the backstory on Decipher Dog (tm):

"My dad is a police officer and my stepmother is a network engineer at NSA. My step-mom travels a lot for her job, which means my stepsister and I take care of my three younger brothers a lot. Several years ago my stepmother was assigned overseas for two years and we couldn’t go with her. It was pretty hard on the family but we managed to pull through. In fact, it was during her assignment that my dad taught me a little bit about her job and how computers “talk” to each other (called networking)."
posted by frecklefaerie at 3:20 PM on December 24, 2005

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