INFO: Encryption battle heats up in House; experts weigh in (5/30/97) (fwd)

Eating Before Swimming (mathboy@sizone.org)
Sun, 1 Jun 1997 10:35:21 -0400 (EDT)


To: crypto-news@panix.com
From: shabbir@vtw.org (Shabbir J. Safdar)
Subject: INFO: Encryption battle heats up in House; experts weigh in (5/30/97)
Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 11:38:40 -0400
Reply-To: crypto-news@lists.panix.com

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PRO-ENCRYPTION BILL CLEARS SECOND CONGRESSIONAL HURDLE;
FACES TOUGHER TEST IN COMING WEEKS.

CRYPTOGRAPHERS AND COMPUTER SECURITY EXPERTS ASSAIL
GOVERNMENT KEY RECOVERY PLANS

Date: May 29, 1997 Expires July 1, 1997

URL:http://www.crypto.com/ crypto-news@panix.com
Redistribution of crypto-news is allowed in its entirety.

_____________________________________________________________________________
Table of Contents
Encryption battle heats up in the House
Experts assail government key recovery plans
What YOU CAN DO NOW!
Background
What's at stake
How to start or stop receiving crypto-news
Press contacts

_____________________________________________________________________________
ENCRYPTION BATTLE HEATS UP IN THE HOUSE

On May 14th, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill designed to
dramatically enhance the ability of Internet users to protect their privacy
and security online.

The bill now moves to the House International Relations Committee, where it
is expected to face tougher opposition from the FBI, NSA, and the Clinton
Administration. The International Relations Committee is expected to
consider the bill soon.

The Security and Freedom through Encryption Act (SAFE - HR 695) will
prohibit the government from imposing mandatory law enforcement access to
private online communications inside the US, affirm the right of American
Citizens to use whatever from of encryption they choose, and relax current
export restrictions which prevent the development of strong, easy-to-use
encryption technologies.

The Clinton Administration, led by the FBI and the National Security
agency, opposes SAFE and is pushing for a policy of domestic restrictions
on the use of encryption, guaranteed law enforcement access to private
communications via government designed "key-recovery" systems, and
continued reliance on out-dated, cold-war era export controls.

For the first time in history, Congress is close to passing real encryption
policy reform legislation which will protect privacy, promote electronic
commerce, and recognizes the realities of the global Internet. Pointers
to additional information on the SAFE bill and other efforts to reform
U.S. encryption policy are attached below.

Congress needs to hear from you! If you value your privacy and care about
the future of the Net, please take a few moments to join the Adopt Your
Legislator campaign. Instructions are attached below.

________________________________________________________________________________
CRYPTOGRAPHERS AND COMPUTER SECURITY EXPERTS ASSAIL GOV'T. KEY RECOVERY PLANS

On Wednesday May 21, a group of leading cryptographers and computer
scientists released a report which for the first time examines the
risks and implications of government-designed key-recovery systems.

The report cautions that "The deployment of a general key-recovery-based
encryption infrastructure to meet law enforcement's stated requirements
will result in substantial sacrifices in security and cost to the end user.
Building a secure infrastructure of the breathtaking scale and complexity
demanded by these requirements is far beyond the experience and current
competency of the field."

The report substantially changes the terms of the ongoing debate over US
encryption policy. For more than four years, the Clinton Administration
has pushed for a policy of continued export restrictions on strong
encryption, and the development of global key escrow and key recovery
systems to address the concerns of law enforcement. The study, the first
comprehensive analysis of the risks of key recovery and key escrow systems,
calls into question the viability of the Administration's approach.

The Report's authors, recognized leaders in the cryptography and computer
science field, include Hal Abelson, Ross Anderson, Steven M. Bellovin, Josh
Benaloh, Matt Blaze, Whitfield Diffie, John Gilmore, Peter G. Neumann,
Ronald L. Rivest, Jeffery I. Schiller, and Bruce Schneier

The report is be available online at http://www.crypto.com/key_study/

________________________________________________________________________________
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

1. Adopt Your Legislator

Now is the time to increase our ranks and prepare for the fight that lies
a head of us in Congress.

Please take a few minutes to learn more about this important
issue, and join the Adopt Your Legislator Campaign at
http://www.crypto.com/adopt/

This will produce a customized page, just for you with your own
legislator's telephone number and address.

In addition, you will receive the latest news and information on the
issue, as well as targeted alerts informing you when your
Representatives in Congress do something that could help or hinder
the future of the Internet.

Best of all, it's free. Do your part, Work the Network!

Visit http://www.crypto.com/adopt/ for details.

2. Spread the Word!

Forward this Alert to your friends. Help educate the public about the
importance of this issue.

Please do not forward after July 1, 1997.

_____________________________________________________________________________
BACKGROUND

Complete background information, including:

* A down-to-earth explanation of why this debate is important to Internet users
* Analysis and background on the issue
* Text of the Administration draft legislation
* Text of Congressional proposals to reform US encryption policy
* Audio transcripts and written testimony from recent Congressional Hearings
on encryption policy reform
* And more!

Are all available at http://www.crypto.com/

________________________________________________________________________
WHAT'S AT STAKE

Encryption technologies are the locks and keys of the Information age
-- enabling individuals and businesses to protect sensitive information
as it is transmitted over the Internet. As more and more individuals
and businesses come online, the need for strong, reliable, easy-to-use
encryption technologies has become a critical issue to the health and
viability of the Net.

Current US encryption policy, which limits the strength of encryption
products US companies can sell abroad, also limits the availability of
strong, easy-to-use encryption technologies in the United States. US
hardware and software manufacturers who wish to sell their products on
the global market must either conform to US encryption export limits or
produce two separate versions of the same product, a costly and
complicated alternative.

The export controls, which the NSA and FBI argue help to keep strong
encryption out of the hands of foreign adversaries, are having the
opposite effect. Strong encryption is available abroad, but because of
the export limits and the confusion created by nearly four years of
debate over US encryption policy, strong, easy-to-use privacy and
security technologies are not widely available off the shelf or "on the
net" here in the US.

A recently discovered flaw in the security of the new digital telephone
network exposed the worst aspects of the Administration's encryption
policy. Because the designers needed to be able to export their
products, the system's security was "dumbed down". Researchers subsequently
discovered that it is quite easy to break the security of the system and
intrude on what should be private conversations.

This incident underscores the larger policy problem: US companies are
at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace when competing
against companies that do not have such hindrances. And now, for the first
time in history, the Clinton Administration has DOMESTIC RESTRICTIONS on the
ability of Americans to protect their privacy and security online.

All of us care about our national security, and no one wants to make it
any easier for criminals and terrorists to commit criminal acts. But we
must also recognize encryption technologies can aid law enforcement
and protect national security by limiting the threat of industrial
espionage and foreign spying, promote electronic commerce and protecting
privacy.

What's at stake in this debate is nothing less than the future of
privacy and the fate of the Internet as a secure and trusted medium for
commerce, education, and political discourse.

______________________________________________________________________________
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_____________________________________________________________________________
PRESS CONTACT INFORMATION

Press inquiries on Crypto-News should be directed to
Shabbir J. Safdar (VTW) at +1.718.596.2851 or shabbir@vtw.org
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_____________________________________________________________________________
End crypto-news
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-- 
Ken Chase mathboy@sizone.org Sonic Interzone $free$ email/news Toronto Canada
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