On OpenBSD, backdoors and cryptography

OpenBSD project leader Theo de Raadt believes the US government has always been “addicted” to various forms of wiretapping.

“1999-2001 was a period where lots of US govt departments pushed the boundaries, because crypto was moved from DOD to Commerce so that it could be exported ‘subject to some limits,'” de Raadt explained in an e-mail response to allegations that the FBI (with NETSEC’s assistance) had planted backdoors in the OpenBSD IPSEC stack.

“The result was that crypto use by private interests was set to explode, and thus many justifications, not just technologies, were being invented to let the US Govt continue wiretapping – [as] they have always been addicted to it.”

Unsurprisingly, de Raadt also acknowledged that NETSEC was “probably” contracted to write backdoors as alleged.

However, he emphasized that the code modifications – if actually written – probably weren’t implemented in the OpenBSD tree.

“If those were written, I don’t believe they made it into our tree. [Sure], they might have been deployed as their own product.

“[Still], if [people] knew NETSEC was in that [kind of] business, I wish  they had told me. The project and I might have adjusted ourself to the situation in some way; [although] I don’t know exactly how.”