we needed security. Then we were concerned
      about Privacy.  Now we practice Antiforensics
. . .


Antiforensics: Tools & Practices that
Thwart Interlopers and Investigators

Why do organizations protect data and email with
stenography, full device encryption, and plausible
deniability? More importantly, why should you!



Ellery Davies
Ellery Davies

Kick your corporate meeting or conference up a notch. Book a speaker who is passionate about privacy, articulate about trends that affect your organization, and who can motivate a staff to protect assets. Someone who can help you protect your data, money and secrets. Someone who is leery of the law and who demonstrates how to make every conversation private and every save-to-disk secure and encrypted.

Forensics labs despise this guy. The empowerment he spreads obsoletes their tools and nullifies their methods. (Check out the LinkedIN community, “Information Security”). He puts personal and corporate privacy above the dictums of subpoenas and court orders. He believes that a conversation in your boardroom or even between continents is entitled to the same privacy as a conversation in your bedroom. He explains how government programs sift through your savings, marriage, medical files and even your idiosyncrasies. They mine for data without probable cause. They are out of control. You have the power to render their tools ineffective. Their ability to tap into your PC, cell phone, email or even the logs of your ISP and phone company can be annulled.


Interests of law enforcement should rarely
trump the privacy of personal storage and
communication, even during investigation.

In the aftermath of catastrophic events like 9/11 or a high profile kidnapping, public sentiment swings from privacy to public safety and a desire to catch perpetrators. That's understandable. But the two are not mutually exlusive. We needn't surrender basic rights to deal with an emergency. In the heat of urgency, a directed serach and seizure can be authorized by a court or even a single judge contacted at home. Our system of checks and balances vests the courts with the power to weigh urgency and probable cause against individual rights. Are police empowered to act without judiciary authority? What if they are in the midst of a kidnapping or getaway. Yes, but only in pursuit, with just cause, and imminent danger. But as risk recedes, the public assumes that private communication and data is immune from interception. Not even close! Big brother's penchant for data collection, sifting, and preemptive analysis is growing at an alarming pace. There are covert bureaus establishing a massive collection and data mining hegemony directed at you. They rifle through your personal data without any cause or authority. Do you accept the argument that poking into dental records and analyzing your social contacts helps prevent a homeland attack? If so, then you won't seek out a specialist in antiforensics. But if you want to know who is peeking into your bedrom and your boardroom, and how to prevent it, read on...

The interests of law enforcement should rarely trump the privacy of yuor personal storage and communications, even during a crime investigation. We must establish ground rules that don't shift with egregious events and without opening the flood gates for politically inspired interlopers, fashionable interests, religiously inspired or puritanical whims of the era.

As CEO Vanquish Labs, a leading email security vendor and winner of PC Magazine Editors' Choice, Ellery Davies knows firsthand how investigators and law enforcement agents coerce personal data from carriers. Agents can break through a perimeter and seize files, just as they collect blood samples and dust for prints. They can question vendors, impound records and often overstep their authority when building a case. But a growing number of your peers believes data in your PC or phone (or in the logs of your ISP or phone company) should be off limits. Data that was personally recorded or privately transmitted are an extension of the human mind worthy of even more protection than the prohibition against compelling spousal testimony. Personally recorded data reflects personal thought and should be subject to the same very high bar for invasion that we would be required for coercive, military-style interrogation.

Poking through a disk, cell phone or personal emails
should be no more frequent than strapping someone to
a table and drugging them—or torturing loved ones to
get at urgent information about an imminent disaster.


Cone of Silence
You expect privacy in person ...
Why not online? It's even easier!

Are their exceptions? Of course! But they should be few and far between. Poking through someone's disk drive or personal emails should be no more frequent than strapping someone to a table and drugging themor torturing loved ones to get at urgent information about an imminent disaster. No one wants to facilitate a bombing or kidnap. But short of imminent calamity, governments should respect individual freedom and personal privacy. Since they have trouble doing so, Davies educates organizations about tools that protect privacy. He makes them simple and transparent and, ultimately, ubiquitous. This is how private thought will be protected in the future.

You may not be able to stop eavesdropping and the seizing of media or communications logs, but you do have the power to render them useless to anyone but the original parties. Mr. Davies supports the wide distribution of tools and practices that thwart forensic investigators. He wants you to have access to transparent, secure obfuscation, no matter what is your secret, political thought, interests, or income. The basis is simple. In the past you expected privacy when talking with a friend in a sealed room. With the proper tools (and good practices), it is possible to achieve the same privacy when talking with someone in another country. And certainly, your personal archived thoughts should enjoy even better protection from invasion. With tools that are abundant, transparent and simple to use, the so called "rules of evidence" become moot. Search away, Mr. Cheney. There is nothing to discover. Of course, there are ways to enhance secure encryption. For example, steganography (the hiding of data hiding in plain sight) and nested encrypted containers (the provide plausible deniability).

With knowledge comes empowerment. Some say that individual empowerment interferes with law enforcement and helps the bad guys. But too often the definition of a "bad guy" is at the whim of current fashion. Davies points to the recent past and It's is not pretty! Governments tend to suppress anything that seems like a threat or challenges their system of beliefs. He starts with America: Consider the criminalization of homosexuals, of interracial marriage during our lifetime, of being Jewish in Nazi Germany (the center of art, science, culture and philosophy). The mixing of church and state, the overreach of the LA police in the 90s or customs agents in the 2000s, the swinging pendulum on the right of a woman to do as she chooses with her body. No matter your opinion on each of the venues, it's hard to escape the fact that governments do not always stand on moral and ethical high ground. Certainly not at all times.

Can Ellery Davies electrify your event? Check out
his speaking history or feedback from the INBox Event in San Jose:


              “Ellery blows away other public speakers. He gets listeners on their toes and enthralls crowds.
              Stack him against anyone in the industry: Rivest, Dyson, Diffie, Chaum, Schneier, Zimmermann.
              The pioneers have academic credentials and some are nuts & bolts coders. But Davies has
              the business savvy to know why it matters and how it affects you...He doesn't just talk the talk,
              he walks the walk with feet-on-the-ground street cred.”


The Fine Print:

  1. If travel itinerary requires a visit of more than 36 hrs, additional fee may apply

  2. Engagement may be postponed up to 6mo without penalty (provide 1 wk notice)

  3. Buyer pays round trip air from Boston and arranges local transportation

  4. Presentation: 90 minutes nominal--can be adjusted from 45min~2½ hrs

  5. Speaker offers to attend social event at no add'l cost, if itinerary accommodates           

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