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Encryption Security

Ask Slashdot: Encrypted Digital Camera/Recording Devices? 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the where-are-you-planning-on-driving-exactly dept.
Ransak writes "As we hear more and more about dashboard cameras catching unplanned events, I've thought of equipping my vehicles with them just in case that 'one in a billion' moment happens. But given the level of overreach law enforcement has shown, I'd only consider one if I could be assured that the data was secure from prying eyes (e.g., a camera that writes to encrypted SD memory). Are there any solutions for the niche market of the paranoid photographer/videographer?"
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Ask Slashdot: Encrypted Digital Camera/Recording Devices?

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  • Why yes, there is. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:05PM (#43296499)

    Are there any solutions for the niche market of the paranoid photographer/videographer?"

    Why yes, yes there is. It's called building it yourself. While encryption isn't illegal, you may have noticed despite the obvious benefits and lack of drawbacks to the consumer, it isn't found pretty much anywhere. This is deliberate: Various law enforcement agencies that don't want to be found out make backroom deals to keep companies from providing this most useful of features because it would make their job more difficult. Or at least, so they say. In truth, they just want access to "ALL THE THINGZ!" regardless of whether there's a legitimate judiciary need for it. And encryption means they'd have to serve warrants and stuff to get the keys, not just go clandestine copy-pasta on your personal data.

    So your niche market isn't niche at all -- it would already be out there, if not for the authoritarian governments of the world (I'm looking at you "free" western society). Now with that out of the way, you can roll your own easily. Embedded devices with a USB connector and linux are a dime a dozen, and most sport the ability to store data to an SD or CF card, as well as boot off of them. It's possible to create one-way encryption so something can be written to using a public key, but only decrypted using a private key not located on the same physical device. This would provide you with a tamper-evident system, and simultaniously provide full protection for your privacy; You can't recover the data without the key, and the data cannot be modified without it either.

    • by thesandbender (911391) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:20PM (#43296677)
      No. There's not a substantial market for it. The market is for things that make it _easier_ for people to post every last second of their lives online (Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instragram, Youtube, etc). The vast majority of the public will see encryption or anything else that interferes with instant narcissism as broken.
      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @06:02PM (#43297241)

        No. There's not a substantial market for it. The market is for things that make it _easier_ for people to post every last second of their lives online (Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instragram, Youtube, etc). The vast majority of the public will see encryption or anything else that interferes with instant narcissism as broken.

        Amazon [amazon.com] says "No." There is a growing market for dashboard cameras. And they're cheap. Really cheap. Forbes [forbes.com] even published an article last month suggesting that they may become mandatory on new cars. As far as people posting "every last second of their lives online." You should really google "russian dash camera". They love posting those things online. It's quite the rage right now. No sir, you are dead wrong.

        The market is very much alive and growing fast. And nowhere is "instant narcissism" listed in the reasons people are buying them. Security. Safety. Documenting scams people try to pull (Drive a nice car? Got nice insurance. Target for a personal injury scam). Documenting the police "No officer, I wasn't speeding, and this GPS-enabled dash cam proves it." The only "instant narcissism" I see is from a jaded troll on slashdot going for extra karma by dragging in a favorite scratching post for the slashkiddies: Hipsters. And hey, while I appreciate the sentiment, you're just flat wrong here.

        • I'm pretty certain he was only referring to the encryption part as a "niche market" or as interference with "instant narcissism". Most of your reply instead assumes he was talking about dashboard cameras in general, making the last line of your comment pretty extra unfriendly. You're a nice person, girlintraining, and I like your posts, but I think you misread his post and a personal attack is unnecessary.

        • I think thesandbender was referring to the lack of market for ubiquitous encryption, not dash cameras.

          With the growing number of cases of seizure of cameras and recording devices by police, I think the need for something like this exists, even if people don't realize it. I would add one feature: authorized write-access. It would be nice if someone couldn't maliciously delete the contents.

    • Would a WiFi SD card to a laptop in the car do the same job? I don't know whether those SD cards store stuff permanently or just long enough to transmit it. Or maybe it's configurable to erase after transmission?
      • Would a WiFi SD card to a laptop in the car do the same job? I don't know whether those SD cards store stuff permanently or just long enough to transmit it. Or maybe it's configurable to erase after transmission?

        Besides the major article on Slashdot just this week about how those cards are so exploitable it makes Java look like Fort Knox, sure. Great idea! One problem: The dude asked for an encrypted storage device. People who ask for things like this generally are against the idea of wirelessly broadcasting their personal data.

        • Dude asked for a way to keep the data encrypted when 'stored'. If it's simply broadcast to a secured storage medium and not stored or not stored very long, i.e. the laptop, it still meets the criteria. The cop isn't going to be able to wirelessly grab what was sent 20 minutes ago.
    • The reason that there isn't encryption in camcorders is not because of authoritarian governments Encryption is not illegal, Camcorders are not illegal. There is no reason that a company could not make such a device and sell it in the western world. In fact, COTS encrypted USB thumb drives are used by defense contractors to encrypt sensitive data all the time.

      The reason that there isn't encryption in camcorders is because it would be more expensive and there isn't a large demand for such a device. It is p

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      So your niche market isn't niche at all -- it would already be out there, if not for the authoritarian governments of the world (I'm looking at you "free" western society).

      No, the niche market truly is niche, otherwise it would be available. There are three reasons it is not, and only one of them has anything to do with any government.

      1. Munitions regulations. Anyone selling strong encryption devices needs to worry about export/import. This makes the market smaller automatically, since it can no longer be a worldwide device, it must either be limited in scope or multiple versions must be sold.
      2. "Dear, what was the password we put on the pictures of the grandkids again? What do y
    • by kermidge (2221646)

      If you knew it would arrive, might even be better to send it to various vid sites starting maybe with YouTube and the like, or to public page of one or more of the social sites where you might have membership.

      Because you might find yourself in a jurisdiction that can jail you for not either handing over the decryption key or, perhaps, being allowed to decrypt it yourself.

    • Encryption being on, or not on, devices is not because of any kind of backroom dealings and is all up to what a company feels it useful, and what they want to spend on it. There are popular devices out there with very good, as in the police can't bypass it, encryption. You can do it on an Android phone, the full device encryption is extremely robust. It is just a pain in the butt to use so most don't.

      When a company considers providing encryption, and in what capacity, there is a few things they have to eval

    • Are there any solutions for the niche market of the paranoid photographer/videographer?

      Why yes, yes there is. It's called building it yourself. While encryption isn't illegal, you may have noticed despite the obvious benefits and lack of drawbacks to the consumer, it isn't found pretty much anywhere.

      I think you mean "utter lack of benefits and significant drawbacks". I'm a photographer, and there's pretty much zero benefit to encrypting my work, and the risk of losing everything forever because I forget th

    • While encryption isn't illegal, you may have noticed despite the obvious benefits and lack of drawbacks to the consumer, it isn't found pretty much anywhere.

      That is utter bullshit. Every iPhone for example has the whole device storage encrypted. Use of SSH for web traffic is everywhere.

      The reason why you don't see it more overtly is not because of your paranoid "law enforcement issues", it's because a lot of other uses of it end up sucking for the user.

      I would be OK with encrypting and signing my email b

  • Camouflage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FrankSchwab (675585) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:07PM (#43296523) Journal

    Hmm, an SD card plugged into your camera, sticking out in plain view, with nothing on it. A second card, installed under the dash, that does the recording. "Why no, officer, I don't believe the camera was turned on".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In the UK you are required to decrypt files that may contain evidence of a crime under the RIP act.

    • by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:14PM (#43296611)

      In the UK you are required to decrypt files that may contain evidence of a crime under the RIP act.

      That's why you have two decryption keys - one that decyrpts the actual video, and one that decrypts a stream of LOLcats videos. Then you say "Oh noes! My wife must have recorded LOLcats on here!".

    • In the US we aren't...it's known as the 5th Amendment.
    • Which boils the argument down to: will you do more time for refusing, or for the decrypted evidence.
      • they can keep you in indefinitely for forgetting the password. RIPA allows for this. It's the ONLY Act that allows for this - although, it is being challenged, as it falls foul of the "cruel and unusual punishment" bit in the ECHR. It also falls foul of the double punishment rule, in that you can't be legally punished twice for the same crime, they get around that by saying that repeated contempt is not the same crime.

    • no, that's a Statutory Instrument. Statutes have the force of Law only by the implied consent of the Governed. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO TELL THE JUDGE TO FUCK OFF.

  • by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:09PM (#43296543) Journal
    This sounds like an excellent opportunity for a tiny computer like an arduino or raspberry pi or the like. Just plug the camera into one and have it periodically offload the pictures from the camera, encrypt them, and dump them to a hard drive in the trunk. Once there, they can be deleted from the camera itself. In fact, you could probably just use a webcam and ditch the on-camera storage altogether.
    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      You should be able to use an arduino to do this.

      Take something like this shield [seeedstudio.com], and then connect the camera's SDCard socket to the arduino on 6 of the GPIO lines. (The shield uses the SPI interface.) Read/write speed may be a factor though, due to using serial bitbash mode to read and write to the card over SPI.

      This would let you add encryption functionality to any SDcard capable device that doesn't currently support it. Putting a buffer lytic cap on, and a voltage regulator would let you tap the camera's

  • Do you want to prevent anyone from accessing the information without your approval or are you merely concerned about the device being physically confiscated? If it's the latter, how about just streaming the audio/video to remote storage?

    • I wouldn't assume you'd have good enough wireless connection for that. A second step to off-site it certainly is a reasonable feature, but encrypt it first so you at least 'have' it.

      That said, having your laptop serve as a local WiFi and using one of those WiFi SD cards...do they store the data and keep it stored or just long enough to transmit it? That might solve the problem entirely since the laptop certainly will be capable of being encrypted well enough to protect from usage and the SD card is bla
      • by Skapare (16644)

        Put some photos on the SD card, so they will see what they expect. If you are British, you may want to avoid that big blob of random bits.

        • Partition a 64GB card with a 2GB partition on it, with a FAT32 filesystem and maybe a bunch of street maps. Put a label on the card that says 2GB. Record encrypted data to raw unpartitioned disk space past 2GB. Bonus points for hacking the firmware on the SD card so that it normally shows up as a 2GB card unless a special code is sent to it.

  • by mpoulton (689851) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:14PM (#43296607)
    The only actual solution is to stream the video to off-site hosted storage, preferably in an inconvenient foreign jurisdiction. If it's stored on the device, it's subject to seizure - whether encrypted or not. Losing the video is often worse than having it viewed by someone against your will. And rest assured, if you record something really bad, there's a good chance someone will destroy the recording device (whether the perpetrator is government or non-government).
    • As cybernetic implants become reality, its only a matter of time before someone embeds local storage in their body. Imagine a cochlear implant with onboard, encrypted storage. Pretty hard for current LEO tech to deal with.
    • Amen!

      Cops destroy recordings and "lose" devices all the time. Streaming video is the only real solution and not practical in this case.

  • Eye-fi SD card... (Score:5, Informative)

    by schlachter (862210) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:25PM (#43296763)

    Get an eye-fi SD car for $50.

    It transfers your photos/video from your camera to your laptop/tablet/smartphone and then deletes it from its local storage.

    So you can show an empty SD card. And your laptop/tablet/smartphone is password protected and/or encrypted.

    • by hAckz0r (989977)
      I would get the Eye-Fi, an Android MP3 player with WiFi & bluetooth, and set up the wireless card access to it. Using a USB 12V regulator to keep it powered, and a volume encryption for the SD card in the player. That way you can tuck it away under the seat, glove box, or somewhere it won't be seen. They might check your cell phone for files, but it won't be there.

      This setup comes with the side benefit that you can sound cool at the same time, if your car has blue-tooth audio, or a blue-tooth/FM tran

  • Forensically secure? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Omega Hacker (6676) <omega@nOSpAM.omegacs.net> on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:41PM (#43296965)

    The scenario I'm more interested in is having a camera running at all times that catch the various idiot drivers all over the place. Hit a button and the last 5 minutes and anything until the next press are permanently stored. Then send the file to the traffic cops.

    The challenge is making the video admissible in court with sufficient weight to be enough to actually convict somebody of the traffic violation they're on tape performing. Currently "we" consider a cops' word as overwhelming evidence in such a case, with police dashboard cameras being a "bonus".

    If there's some way to ensure that *I* don't tamper with the recording at a level that the courts would trust, I'd install one in a heartbeat.

  • I think the OP wants to have the data encrypted so that in the event he inadvertently captures video that could implicate himself in a crime (e.g. speeding, running a red light, etc), that this information can only be unencrypted and accessed with his consent if the data is confiscated.

    I think the best solution (although I am not sure if this product exists), is an SD card that has hardware encryption built in to it. This would be ideal because it wouldn't require the camcorder to know anything about the e

  • The cops will just confiscate and "lose" your encrypted memory card.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @06:18PM (#43297417) Journal

    I have a camera built into the front license plate bracket rather than sitting on the dashboard. This particular one has the recording device elsewhere on the vehicle, but I suspect with today's technology the entire thing could fit in the license plate bracket. Just sayin'.

  • Google Glass? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @06:58PM (#43297773) Homepage Journal

    The way I understand it, you could offload the data before the corrupt cop could seize the glasses. That is, if he even figures out what the glasses are for.

    How long before Google Glass-type technology shows up in a pair of glasses that don't look any different from a regular pair of specs?

    I know, I know, they're creepy. But they may also be something of an equalizer in the coming surveillance wars.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @07:27PM (#43297973)
    SD card stands for Secure Digital card. it's called Secure Digital because the card includes onboard circuitry to do encryption. That encryption hasn't yet been broken. It can be used either to passphrase protect the card, or for DRM on preloaded cards.

    Most cameras don't have a keyboard to enter the password of course, so use an old phone as a camera. Some phones support locking and unlocking the card with a passphrase.

    Slashdot normally has good answers for TECHNICAL issues. I'm amazed that apparently nobody replying sooner knew what SD stands for.
    • by Miamicanes (730264) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @02:53AM (#43300361)

      Yes and no. Not every device that uses (micro)SD cards can do encryption, and not every card that's the shape and size of a (micro)SD card is necessarily a real (micro)SD card that supports encryption. Remember, SD is a superset of MMC, and 99% of devices that don't support encryption really just treat the "(micro)SD" card like a MMC card.

      I believe that in the US, anybody can read and write (micro)SD using the 1-bit MMC-compatible SPI interface without encryption royalty-free, but if you want to either use its built-in encryption or communicate in 4-bit mode, you have to pay royalties and obtain a license to use the superset of capabilities that (micro)SD adds to MMC.

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