>Of governments and their escalating reaction to encryption

>Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

what happens when governments start cracking down on encryption after a twenty-year hiatus?

Bad shit, if you ask me.

You might have heard about the teenager that got jailed for not disclosing his password in the UK. The way I see it, this goes along the same lines as the UAE banning blackberries on account of their not being able to snoop on people: governments are reacting to encryption in a more concrete manner than they have ever before. This is not to say that governments haven’t been allergic to the commercialization of encryption before — I remember reading an article in College about the shit Whit Diffie had to go through to develop public key cryptography, not to mention the countless outlawing and export bans. However, it seems to me that governments are switching tactics, moving from the legislative to the pragmatic at a dramatic pace. What has triggered this sudden (renewed) interest in encryption?

For some reason, I’m wondering if it’s not the whole Google vs. China debacle that’s stoked the fires of cyberwar — because let’s face it, crypto has always had a strong role in warfare. After all, cryptography is easily as old as its etymological language — ancient greek — possibly older.

Here’s my reasoning: the media hype about China spying on its dissidents reflects in a very public manner just how far its willing to go — this triggers the following reaction:
Increase in public awareness
  => increase in fear
           => increase in security
                    = opportunity for governments to finally do that shit they’ve been meaning to do.

Well, that’s all the conspiracy theorist in me has to say about that. Guess this whole “encryption” thing will blow over — but then again, what if it doesn’t? Does the actual application of laws imposed by the likes of the Patriot Act and RIPA not, in some way, confirm that we’re living in an Orwellian world?