Proposal: Personal Data Encryption (maybe SoC?)

Jonathon Suggs jsuggs at
Mon Mar 19 19:55:23 CET 2007

Tobias Gruetzmacher wrote:
> Hi,
> Am Mon, 19 Mar 2007 12:28:28 +0100 schrieb Sven Neuhaus:
>> With regards to encryption - it'd be great if microSD cards can contain
>> dm-crypt'ed partitions. It's probably rather trivial to add this.
> Partitions are a major usability nightmare IMHO. That is the reason my 
> proposal focused on encfs/ecryptfs, which both are "layered" encryption 
> "file systems". This removes the requirement to set a fixed size for the 
> encrypted space and makes it easy to use standard tools to backup the 
> encrypted data.
> Greetings, Tobi
Just wanted to throw my $.02 into the mix.  I think the most important 
aspect of this is ease of use...KISS.  Some of the ideas floating around 
are over the top.  It might give you warm fuzzies to have some "super 
cool" encryption scheme, but it will be completely pointless if you make 
it so difficult to use that (normal) people don't use it.

There is a big difference between what is needed for keeping nuclear 
launch codes and your shopping list secure.  Since it is much more 
likely that you will be storing your shopping list rather than 
top-secret documents, lets focus on encryption schemes that are more 
target for that use.  Also, *most* times that a phone is lost/stolen 
people are just going to want to wipe it then sell on eBay, not "hook up 
a debug board and do a memory dump."  Seriously, where are you at that 
crooks are THAT tech savvy??? Please let me know so I can stay far far away.

Now to contribute something productive, rather than just complain on the 
list.  Here are two ideas that if used together be simple and effective.

1) I do like the gesture based approach as that is something that can be 
easily input using one hand (remember, KISS).  However, that may not go 
over as well for a non-phone interface.  So, having an intermediate 
layer that transform "gestures" to a key-phrase would be a great idea.  
Then you can have a preference to either input your password/key-phrase 
directly OR you can launch the gesture analyzer and that will handle the 
inputting of your password/key-phrase.

2) The sudo style of access could also be useful.  Whenever "private" 
data (still not sure the best/most user friendly approach to determining 
what is and isn't) is accessed, you are required to put in a password 
(via method above) and it will last for a pre-determined amount of time. 

Just the combination of those two ideas would probably suffice for +90% 
of users needs.  Then, if someone was actually carrying nuclear launch 
codes, then a secondary more robust implementation could either replace 
or supplement.  But your grandmother would still be able to (hopefully) 
figure out that scheme.

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