[IWAR] CRYPTO US DoJ - no mandatory recovery

From: Mark Hedges (hedgesat_private)
Date: Sat Mar 21 1998 - 17:45:00 PST

  • Next message: Mark Hedges: "[IWAR] CRYPTO Rivest; new techniques"

    DoJ reins in Freeh. Excerpt from newsletter:
    >Coalition for Constitutional Liberties Weekly Update for 3/20/98
    >Volume I, Number 5
    >>From the Center for Technology Policy of the Free Congress Foundation
    >phone: 202-546-3000
    >fax: 202-544-2819
    >For a Web version of this update go to:
    >Senate hearing debates privacy and technology
    >A Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing held earlier
    >this week, "Privacy in the Digital Age: Encryption and Mandatory
    >Access," heard testimony concerning the use of encryption and the
    >demands by law enforcement to have immediate access to encrypted
    >communications. The legislation being considered was H.R. 695, the
    >Security and Freedom through Encryption (SAFE) Act. SAFE would prohibit
    >the existence of a key to unscramble data, but also make the use of
    >encryption to hide evidence from law enforcement a crime.
    >Committee Chairman, Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO), framed the topic of
    >discussion for the hearing: "We have been told that law enforcement
    >needs mandatory access to every individual's electronic messages and
    >material. We have even heard that we need a new Fourth Amendment for the
    >digital age. At the same time, we have heard almost nothing about the
    >privacy interests of law-abiding citizens...Apparently, innocent
    >citizens are expected to trust the bureaucracy not to abuse them as the
    >IRS has done by shake down audits, or the FBI handing over hundreds of
    >sensitive files to political operatives in the White House."
    >Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), sponsor of the SAFE Act in the House, was the
    >first to testify. But it was the testimony of Deputy Attorney General
    >Robert Litt that brought the most surprise. In a stunning development,
    >Litt announced that the Department of Justice was backing off its demand
    >for mandated key recovery, despite statements made by FBI Director Louis
    >Freeh to a Jan. 28th House Intelligence hearing to the contrary. "The
    >administration and the FBI have the same position, and that is not
    >mandating legislation, but pursuing a cooperative position with
    >industry," said Litt.
    >But Litt's testimony also included references to a "voluntary solution"
    >which would encourage industry to incorporate key recovery into new
    >encryption products, giving the law enforcement a back-door into every
    >computer. This "voluntary solution" was the key provision used in the
    >Secure Public Networks Act (S. 909), introduced by Sen. Bob Kerrey
    >(D-NE) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
    >Some privacy advocates also expressed some reticence with SAFE. "Even
    >the SAFE bill, which is well-intentioned, fails to contain an assurance
    >of judicial review of any agency decision to prevent publication due to
    >alleged national security concerns, a key element required by the
    >Constitution," said Cindy Cohn, legal counsel to math professor Daniel
    >Bernstein, who is suing the State Department for the right to post an
    >encryption program on the Internet. "SAFE also does not clearly protect
    >scientists such as Professor Bernstein, but only protects those who seek
    >to distribute mass market software already available abroad," Cohn
    >continued. Berstein's encryption program falls under the export category
    >of "arms and military hardware", a position that has been challenged in
    >Bernstein's lawsuit as limiting free speech. Having won three legal
    >rounds, the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals is expected to rule on the
    >case soon.
    >During questioning, Senator Ashcroft asked Professors Kathleen Sullivan
    >of Stanford and Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago whether
    >domestic encryption standards would be constitutional, to which Sullivan
    >replied that it would not, stating that "it inverts the world that our
    >framers so carefully put into place." Despite the constitutional
    >questions involved, it appears that the Clinton Administration, while
    >retreating from their frontal assault upon powerful encryption, seeks to
    >bargain a deal with the computer industry to maintain access to
    >encrypted programs. If that approach is successful, the Bernstein case
    >will be all the more important for citizens who wish to keep their
    >personal computer and financial records from prying government eyes.
    >Read this WIRED NEWS story on the hearings:
    >Watch and listen to a RealPlayer cybercast of the hearing:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Apr 13 2001 - 13:06:43 PDT