--- The third name is MARUTUKKU, Master of the arts of protection, chained the Mad God at the Battle. Sealed the Ancient Ones in their Caves, behind the Gates.
|The Akkadian Creation Epic|
Rubberhose is a computer program which both transparently encrypts data on a storage device, such as a hard drive, and allows you to hide that encrypted data. Unlike conventional disk encryption systems, Rubberhose is the first successful, freely available, practical program of deniable cryptography in the world. It was released in an earlier form in 1997, but has undergone significant changes since that time. The design goal has been to make Rubberhose the most efficient conventional disk encryption system, while also offering the new feature of information hiding.
Rubberhose is a type of deniable cryptography package. Deniable cryptography gives a person not wanting to disclose the plaintext data corresponding to their encrypted material the ability to show that there is more than one interpretation of the encrypted data. What deniable crypto means in the Rubberhose context is this: if someone grabs your Rubberhose-encrypted hard drive, he or she will know there is encrypted material on it, but not how much -- thus allowing you to hide the existence of some of your data.
Written in C, Rubberhose supports NetBSD and Linux as a suite of kernel modules and userland programs. The program has worked under FreeBSD in the past, but the FreeBSD port needs updating to reflect the new kernel-userland messaging system. (Hands up, anyone who wants to join our team for this?) We are planning to port it to Windows NT™ as well -- and are looking for volunteers here as well.
Rubberhose was originally conceived by crypto-programmer Julian Assange as a tool for human rights workers who needed to protect sensitive data in the field, particularly lists of activists and details of incidents of abuse. Repressive regimes in places like East Timor, Russia, Kosovo, Guatamalia, Iraq, Sudan and The Congo conduct human rights abuses regularly. Our team has met with human rights groups an heard first hand accounts of such abuses. Human rights workers carry vital data on laptops through the most dangerous situations, sometimes being stopped by military patrols who would have no hesitation in torturing a suspect until he or she revealed a passphrase to unlock the data. We want to help these sorts of campaigners, particularly the brave people in the field who risk so much to smuggle data about the abuses out to the rest of the world.
Of course, you don't have to be a human rights activist to play with Rubberhose -- we invite everyone from tinkerer coder to nefarious cypherpunk to use this code. Those coders from European and North American countries who test Rubberhose may soon find their efforts pay off closer to home. Draconian new crypto laws currently proposed in Britain call for a prison term of up to two years for anyone who refuses to turn over his or her encryption key, or the messages in plaintext, to law enforcement agents. If passed, the Electronic Communications Bill will also see anyone tipping off a target about an investigation looking forward to up to five years in prison. In fact, under the new law, even complaining about alleged abuses by law enforcement to the media may land whistle-blowers a prison term. Other Western governments have are to a greater or lesser degress following Britian's lead.
If you're wondering about the name of this program, Marutukku is the internal development name (it's spelled R-u-b-b-e-r-h-o-s-e, but it's pronounced M-a-r-u-t-u-k-k-u) and Master of the arts of protection, as described in ancient Mesopotamian creation work The Akkadian Creation Epic. Read all seven tablets (a translation of the tablets is contained in the file ENUMAELISH. Or you could try the MYTHOLOGY file distributed with the program instead. We hope that Rubberhose will both protect your data, and offer a broader kind of protection for people who take risks for just causes. Civilization advances slowly, and traditionally it is human rights campaigners, free-thinking academics and community activists who propel it forward. Society often resists these gingerly-placed prods, and the entrenched moguls punish those who dare to upset the status quo. They label the activists as trouble-makers or whistle blowers to justify misusing them. Where there is injustice, we like to upset the status quo too, and to support others who want to do the same. Our motto is "let's make a little trouble." The Rubberhose development team is releasing Rubberhose to help protect activists who want to make a little trouble. Feel free to make a little trouble yourself.
|What can you do with Rubberhose?|