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Signal without noise, or as a metaphor for Cryptography

The newly Russian law, which introduces an Internet black list (or roster sites with prohibited content), is the natural questions. Too many signs that declared there is one, and means something substantially different
Before leaving for summer vacation in the parliament decided suddenly to attend to the protection of youth from the corrupting influence of the Internet. And Stakhanovite pace-invented was a new law - amending (the other has not even begun to operate), the federal law "On protection of children from information harmful to their health and development." The essence of the amendments, as everybody knows, is to create a so-called black lists, based on which the whole state will be blocked Internet access to sites with illegal and harmful content.Assigned to that child pornography, promotion of drug use and suicide.

If we argue in the abstract, what seems to be this bad? Who in their right mind would oppose against such an abomination, as the corruption of minors? Yes, and on other points: all kinds of normal parents, perhaps, would be pleased if the government will help them protect their children from such horrible evils like drug addiction and suicide. The problem is that abstract arguments are not suitable for the analysis of current life in a particular state. And if in this country much of the Internet community, able to clearly and without the mat to formulate their position very definitely opposed to the new law, then what should be a really good reason.
All who are interested in this story, certainly not just read and heard numerous arguments of opponents of blacklists. Arguments about how, in particular, that the Russian legislation, and so has enough items to allow severely punished for crimes related to child abuse or drug trafficking. With the introduction of censorship anywhere and never made a better society. With the technical aspects of the proposed legal measures to block prohibited sites actually do not effectively implemented, and therefore the law will not work ...
It is noteworthy that one of the strongest counter-argument, attracted by the supporters of the new law in his defense, has become the formula of "everybody does it." In other words, what all these fruitless disputes, if a systematic filtering of Internet content is now engaged in almost all states. Not only authoritarian regimes in Asia and the Persian Gulf, but also quite democratic government in Europe (such as Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Scandinavia), and in Australia, and Canada, and South America. That is to say, Russia it is simply pulled up to the general world trend.
In general, it is clear, perhaps, that the problem is outlined here is not easy. And for better understanding it would like to have some more analytical tool to identify additional and / or hidden aspects of what is happening. Among the innovative approaches to the analysis, you can choose, for example, that is.
Information Theory and Cryptography
One of the interesting features in the history of applied mathematics of the XX century was the fact that information theory and the theory of cryptography were born almost simultaneously. Moreover, the parent of both sciences is the same man - Claude Elwood Shannon. In other words, there are all - even the purely medical - reasons to call this pair of twin sciences that describe in general the same, but with several different parties. If the information theory deals with the manner in which the integrity and without distortion to pass the message on the channel, very noisy interference, the cryptography solves the problem, be stated exactly the opposite. Namely, how to artificially distort the signal noise to such an extent that the enemy, connected to the transmission channel, could not understand the content of the message.
Especially interesting is the section of cryptography cryptanalysis - that is, a special set of mathematical procedures and techniques for opening codes (for it is impossible to construct a strong encryption algorithm, not having learned to open the first of weak ciphers.) It is clear that the essence of the cryptanalyst - is to gain access to the signal, despite the best efforts of those who "zashumlyal." That is to say that cryptanalysis solves the same problem as the theory of information, but only in a more specific "noise in the channel."
But what does all this history has now taken to a Russian law on the black lists for the Internet? Communication here is the following: a standard set of procedures used by cryptanalysts at the opening of ciphers, and in this case allows you to "separate the signal from noise", thus providing access to the content of the message in its original, purified form of interference. In cryptography, a signal is called the "plain text". Of course, there is a "decryption" will be done without the mathematical rigor that is inherent in modern cryptanalytic science.Cryptography can be said in this case involved more as a visual metaphor.
Statistical anomaly
One of the main external features high-quality cryptographic algorithm is usually a flat ciphertext is statistically similar to the random equiprobable sequence. Each is a statistical anomaly in the appearance of characters and their combinations, usually indicates a weakness in the code available. This kind of weakness, leading to an easy opening protection, have been characterized, for example, cryptography in the first versions of Windows.
With respect to the flow of legislation in our State Duma statistical anomaly is sharply delineated in July, when for just one week without any preliminary discussions have been made, heard and taken just three of the law. And all three - defamation of public organizations as "foreign agents" about blacklisted for harmful Internet sites - are characterized by the same, in fact, a singularity. All these initiatives are aimed at restricting the rights available before, introducing an additional responsibility for all those who in one way or another depends on the power. Speaking podohodchivee, no additional freedoms, these laws do not mean. It there is only the new prohibitions and penalties for "disobedience."
If we remember that a little earlier, in June, was adopted and is very in tune with these three new law limiting freedom of assembly, without any statistical calculations becomes quite obvious that much power in Russia alarmed by processes occurring in society, and therefore began to quickly tighten nuts.
Frequent repetition
We now turn to a more specific consideration of a new law on the black list to block illegal websites. There is useful to refer to a particular cryptanalytic reception called "identification of repetitions." Statistically nonrandom repetition in the text messages are often given a very powerful lever for breaking cryptosystems. Especially in cases where the repetition of the same species occur frequently and are referred to as the technical term "standard letters" (fans of Sherlock Holmes stories to illustrate the method it is possible to recall a story about them breaking the cipher of the Dancing Men). In the case we analyzed one of the standards of this kind is very well known in advance and looks like a "child pornography".
The legislators of almost all countries around the world every time you have to push through some unpopular once known to the law in society, again curtail civil rights and liberties, first of all strive to bring a compelling argument to the fight against child pornography and pedophiles damn. Until recently, worked flawlessly as a never-ending war on terrorism threats, but due to excessive activity in this field the United States and completely unimpressive results of the struggle against the general weariness of the masses, the terrorist threat level is now transferred to the hot spare. In short, the argument against "child pornography" as long as it works really smoothly, and therefore attracted again and again. Including - and a ruthless war against bad Web sites. It lasts the whole fight for many years, but, characteristically, the number of stories about child molestation in no way diminished.
At the very expressive examples from the history of sex scandals in the Catholic Church and in the highest political leadership of a number of well-known that the offenses related to child abuse, regularly and on a massive scale silenced - so as not to discredit the authority of government and clergy. As a consequence, the idea of ​​the fight against pedophiles and child molesters in fact exist as to themselves, crossing in only a few sporadic cases, when a sweep kakih-nibud very very minor perverts.
Repeated use of a single key
Cryptographic theory and practice found that even in cases where the messages are used for encryption ciphers are very strong, providing a channel signal, not statistically distinguishable from random equiprobable sequence, it is still a real possibility of opening the defense - if for some reason the sender for different messages using the same secret key. Referring to historical examples illustrate this weakness, we can recall the famous story of breaking the British German encoder "Shlyusseltsuzatts" shut the secret correspondence of the top management of the Third Reich. Because only one, but a very serious error of German cipher, re-apply the same key, British cryptanalysts were able to restore ciphertext to the whole scheme of the encoder. After that built the first one and then the ten "supercomputer» Colossus, a few years ensured a constant reading of the German secret until the victory over Nazism.
With regard to the struggle that the current democratic government and not-so countries are on the Internet with its own citizens, trying to block access to sites with prohibited content, the role of an essential element of the system - or "key" - played by the so-called black lists, containing the specific address to be blocking sites. It is clear that the whole system somehow is able to designate their performance solely in terms of these black lists maintain in the strictest confidence. But it is clear also that such lists can not be applied only once - on the contrary, they operate continuously, from time to time, only adding new lines of prohibitions. Hence, it is derived and its key weakness.
Experience shows that, sooner or later bound leaking the blacklist in the Internet, usually through sites such as compromising WikiLeaks.And then anyone, it becomes apparent that all this talk about the fight against child pornography and pedophiles - just a pretext for the establishment of secret and out of court control over access to information Internet resources. So it was almost everywhere blacklists merged into Network opponents of censorship. In Thailand, for example, where, as everywhere, the network censors have substantiated the need to combat child pornography, in fact, more than 1,000 banned sites was related to criticism of the ruling royal family. In Australia, only a third of the positions belonged to the secret registry banned porn sites. In Finland, among the very distant from the child pornography, but still prohibited content sites revealed that criticize anti-democratic practices of censorship.
Open Text
Completing these exercises in the cryptanalysis of messages and separating legislative masking noise from the really meaningful information, we can conclude the following. And in Russia, and in international law, without any black lists for a long time there is an ample set of legal tools to prevent and severely punish the crimes of child abuse and child pornography.
Specifically, in terms of the physical location of sites of state power in Russia and have quite successfully used a wide range of different methods to block any Internet resources, is regarded by them as harmful. Closure of the site can occur both in the courts and out of court: the representations of the prosecutor's office, the Interior Ministry or the Ministry of Communications, through the loss of the domain name in the zone. RU and / or the physical seizure of servers. That is, in fact, all this created a new legal system - the blocking of addresses through the mechanisms of blacklists - to sites on the Russian territory and is not required at all. For what it can really come in handy, as it is for quick and easy to block any unwanted government information resources, located abroad. Whether it's at least "Living Magazine", even though YouTube, though he Google.
Not a fact, of course, that this potential will be used frequently, but the actual mechanism of censorship for that set. And all this set up in obvious contradiction with the Russian Constitution, where Article 29, paragraph 5, as spelled out in a literal following line: "The freedom of the media. Censorship is prohibited ... "
Information without meaning
One of the most important features of the theory of information (like cryptography) is that science operates exclusively bits of information, not interested in the semantic content of these bits. Everything related to the meaning of information is no longer a mathematical-analytical part, and the one who uses this information is and interpret it. A clear illustration of this feature may be the outcome of horse races at the track. For some set of characters with the name of the winner may be news of an unexpected receipt of a state. For someone else - the tragic news of the collapse of the last hopes. But for the vast majority of the population is the same piece of information will most likely completely unnoticed - as if it was not at all.
Information about the widespread attempts to stand out of court to block Internet content that is contrary to the spirit and letter of all the constitutions of the free world, prohibiting censorship refers to the same category. For some, this is a clear alarm that requires immediate action to restore the vanishing civil rights and liberties. For others - it is good news, meaning that the authorities of all countries - regardless of ideology or religion - is finally quite unanimous in their desire to have the tools to effectively control information available to their citizens.Well, for a very large mass of the population, this news does not mean almost anything. They are, so to speak, all of these censorship, lack of freedom in general, to the lamps.
But information theory and cryptography here did not do with it.
For those interested in theory and practice of cryptanalysis, the basic techniques of breaking the simplest ciphers popular and available to the public are described in the classical work of Edgar Allan Poe's "Golden Beetle" . For those who prefer a more modern and scientific-sounding presentation, you can suggest a tutorial on the basics of cryptanalysis (unfortunately only in English) Basic cryptanalysis .

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