NorthStar – Escrow Eliminates Privacy [cr-95/11/15]


Introduction from moderator:

A month ago we were engaged in a productive discussion about
encryption, kicked off by a proposal by the powerful Council of Europe
to outlaw all forms of encryption (such as PGP) except those to which
governments held keys.  Then we got sidetracked from this issue.  In
the hopes of stimulating debate again, I'm posting this newsletter
from the Internet Users Consortium, which looks at domestic attempts
that are similar to what the Council of Europe proposed.



Sender: •••@••.••• (El Tiburon)

       |         NorthStar
 __|/__    A Guiding Light on Internet Issues
       |         Newsletter of the Internet Users Consortium
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The NorthStar is a guiding light to help you focus on the primary issues
which threaten our Internet Freedom. In this Newsletter we let Internet
Users know what the necessary issues and actions are to defend the
Internet. We sincerely invite your participation at any level, from
discussion to action. Rethink what Activism means - Isn't it just

**Please feel free to distribute this E-zine (in whole or in part)  to as
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action. All we ask is that you keep this header attached to whatever
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Update:   Internet Users Consortium

We have been organizing people together to speak out against any form of
government involvement in encryption. This is a personal matter and does
not request or require any interference or coercion by any party not
directly involved in sending or receiving the email in question. We are
looking for a person to coordinate an effort to inform people about this
intrusion on our rights. If you are someone who feels strongly about this
form of government interference please contact •••@••.••• for
more information. It can and must be done. Please - give us some feedback.

Ted Xanadu Nelson in the current BYTE back page "Commentary" concerning the
Future of the Datahighway: "It will be a conglomerate of parts on an
Internet-like model, with some fast priority lanes and something like the
Clipper Chip for encryption -- which everyone will bypass. But that doesn't
matter, since it will let the government arrest whomever they choose, since
we'll all be breaking the big vague new laws against everything."


Is this for real? Do you mean to tell me that my democratically elected
government wants the online equivalent of a key to each and every home in
America? They need this in order to ensure the American way of life??  Am I
the only one who finds this offensive?

Would you want some government lackey with his own hangups wandering through
your house while you're at work? This is the equivalent of what they're
proposing. It is irrelevant what they 'claim' to be looking for, the point
is that they can swiftly enter and look over any portion of my life whenever
they choose to.

A universal wiretap structure has long been in place. Now they want to make
you seal your email with a paper clip, so they can conveniently open it up
make sure it's "acceptable". What sort of paranoid delusional mind would it
take to propose such an atrocious crime against Internet Users in the name
of defending the American Way of life? This doesn't sound like the American
Way of life that I know about.

What terrorist is going to commit a crime using government encryption? The
French government banned all non-government-approved strong encryption. That
did not stop the Algerian terrorists from bombing innocents at will in the
Paris Metro. All escrow encryption will do is to remove stupid criminals in
a Natural Selection model so that only clever criminals remain.

When confronted with the comment that no criminal, foreign spy, or
terrorist of any sophistication would be foolish enough to use an encryption
device designed by the NSA and approved by the FBI, Admiral McConnell stated:
"From what we know today, the overriding requirement that spies, terrorist,
and criminals have is readily available and easy to use equipment that
interoperates. Key escrow encryption is not meant to be a tool to catch
criminals. It will make excellent encryption available to legitimate
businesses and private citizens without allowing criminals to use the
telecommunications system to plan and commit crimes with impunity."

The Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 1994 has authorized $800,000
to be spent by the National Research Council of the National Academy of
Sciences to conduct a study of federal encryption policy. Admiral McConnell
does not believe that we can wait until after the NRC study is completed in
1996 to begin implementation of the key escrow initiative. He says, "The
information technology industry is dynamic and fast-moving, and to wait
another two
years or more would, we believe, jeopardize the success of the initiative.
Industry demand for encryption products is growing. To wait for the
completion of the NRC study to other encryption products which would defeat
lawful wiretaps. We believe that such a delay would not be in the best
interest of the American people".

This is the same set of rhetoric and politico-babble that Sen. Exon was
spewing out. He denounced the usefulness of the Constitution as well as
refusing to allow a study to be done to determine if ther was a way to
accomplish the same things without trampling the Bill of Rights. Sen. Leahy
seemed to find a way. Reps Cox and Wyden seemed to find a way. Why couldn't
Exon??? Simple, an onerous government attempting to ensure that the growing
number of disillusioned citizens have fewer legitimate channels effectively
organize and state their grievances. Oh yeah, and dumb criminals. Don't
forget those dumb criminals.

There is yet another problem of leaving this in the hands of the
government. We all know our government will always lag way behind the
technology curve. Do you think they are going to be able to revise and
continue to have the encryption keep pace with the rigorous demands of
computer related technologies? We all know they can't and won't.

I am guessing that they will sub contract this important national security
work to large corporations. You do realize this means that a large company
or two will create this and also be able to use it. I've never been big on
the honor system when applied to large corporations. The ACLU has already
addressed this concern. We already are at the mercy of the 'Credit-Gods'.
If you dont believe me,  just try to correct an error in your credit
report. It is easier to edit the Bible.

What about the rest of the world? The Internet is instant and it is
international. The pathetic attempts of the US government to control the
Internet will prove to be about as effective as the Maginot Line. John
Gilmore's famous quote is applicable, "The Net interprets censorship as
damage and routes around it".

Senator Murray was asked, "With at least 30 million people hooked up to the
Internet, how do U.S. export controls actually prevent criminals,
terrorists, or whoever from obtaining DES encryption software?"

He responded by saying: "Serious users of encryption do not entrust their
security to
software distributed via networks or bulletin boards. There is simply too
much risk that viruses, Trojan Horses, programming errors, and other
security flaws may exist in such software which could not be detected by the
user. Serious users of encryption, those who depend on encryption to protect
valuable data and cannot afford to take such chances, instead turn to other
sources in which they can have greater confidence. Such serious users
include not only entitles which may threaten U.S. national security
interests, but also
businesses and other major consumers of encryption products. Encryption
software distribution via Internet, bulletin board, or modem does not
undermine the effectiveness of encryption export controls".
What?? Is this man for real? This the type of 'informed individual' that we
have elected to make our decisions for us.

THIS JUST IN from  David L. Sobel of the  Electronic Privacy Information

In case anyone missed it, USA Today came out against key-escrow
encryption in an editorial yesterday (October 24).  A brief

     A potential for compromise, supported by the Clinton
     administration, is called "key escrow."  More powerful
     encryption programs would be allowed, and only a court
     order could let the government use the "key" and decode
     transmissions.  That may sound reasonable, but apply
     that reasoning to more mundane areas of life.  What the
     government is saying is yes, you can put bars on your
     windows, locks on your doors and put your jewelry in a
     safe, but you have to give us the keys and the combination
     because you might be a crook.

     ...  The best way to promote American business and protect
     Americans' privacy is to allow the best encryption programs
     to be available.  It is the responsibility of government to
     enforce the laws, not the public's to make it easy at the
     cost of its privacy.

Interestingly, USA Today notes that "the FBI and the Commerce
Department declined to defend [key-escrow] in an opposing view to

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Users Consortium.  The Internet Users Consortium is an independent Grass
Roots organization founded by Martin Thompson and Kenneth Koldys, Jr to
inform and coordinate Internet users concerning political and government
actions against the complete self-actualization of the Internet as stated
in the Bill of Rights.

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Rethink what activism means - Isnt it just participation?

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