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Encryption Security

U.S. Government Wants Public Encryption Software Removed 333

Anonymous Coward writes "Saw this one yesterday over at Hacker News Network. According to an article (German or English) published in Teleopolis, Janet Reno sent a letter last May to the German Federal Secretary of Justice outlining the need for the Wassanaar Nations to remove access to all encryption software from the internet as she believes such access renders the Wassanaar agreement impotent. The letter specifically mentions "public domain" encryption software. " Well, now I guess my life really will be an "open book".
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U.S. Government Wants Public Encryption Software Removed

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  • I want to be President of the Universe. She wants no crypto. I guess we all have our little disappointments.

    And to think, I pay money to live in ths corrupted country.
  • Still I don't want to government to be looking at my emails and stuff just because they can. I sometimes like to kept some email safe and private. Or at least closer to private. I don't do anything Illegal anyway, so what's the deal, who cares if I am, the government can't stop all the stuff that is going on with the Internet anyway. They just make these laws, and hope people will listen to them, yeah right! I laugh at them. But still, why shouldn't I be able to have private email? I want the government to answer that one? If I do totally legal stuff why shouldn't I/We?
  • The intelligence agencies and governments may have known. Now that it has become public there should be more pressure on any government that considers outlawing encryption. The people of those countries now know for sure that they are being monitored. I don't think they'll like it any more than we do. Whether they can do anything about it is another matter though. I suppose that will vary between different countries.

  • -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 This ole redneck ain't never givin' in .... -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: PGPfreeware 6.0.2 for non-commercial use iQA/AwUBN6H7QK4lMZr99q2sEQIyuQCeIGvIwIWGVVot/Iau4e yDBcFbTh8AnR24 zpwRpETwkQkMXo/qJ6ypJCHi =NCmQ -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
  • ok.. Real World.
    Terrorist Cells do not communicate. They operate independently hence: "cells"
    Other baddies that require electronic communication will always use encryption regardless of laws. If you want to blow up a US federal building, for instance, you would *not* care about the fines for using encrypted email. Only the good folks in the world will be affected.
    The US appears quite happy to limit strong non-US encryption but allow strong encryption internally. Germans have just as much right to it as Americans. Perhaps more.
    LICENCE implies key escrow, which would be dangerous for the companies involved. One could interept the key, or purchase it from a disgruntled government employee.
    If any state is serious about stopping terrorism, it is better to refine the foreign policy which often incites the problem than spy on all the citizens, companies, diplomates, leaders, and girl guides of the world. This reeks of 'Band-aid' solution.
    Containment of the Soviet Union and buddies is no longer an issue, and China is comparitively weak.
    The only security the spy apparatus now cares about is Job Security.

    look at some cases cited by the FBI:

    1)the Aldrich Ames spy case where Ames was told by his
    Soviet handlers to encrypt computer file information to be
    passed to them;

    2)the Ramzi Yousef (mastermind of the World Trade
    Center)/Manilla [sic] Air terrorist case where Yousef and other
    international terrorists were plotting to blow up 11 U.S.
    owned airliners in the Far East in which data regarding this
    terrorist plan was found in encrypted computer files
    discovered in Manilla after Yousef's arrest; and

    3)a child pornography case where the subject used
    commercially-available encryption to encrypt pornographic
    images of children that were transmitted to other subjects
    of the investigation,

    In all three of these cases, encryption was used. banning encryption would not have prevented any of these people using it. Can you imagine that nutter Yousef saying, "Golly I certainly shouldn't encrypt these files....ok, now where are the planes..."

    Learn the lingo:
    Terrorists and child pornographers are not the only ones which use terrorism or child pornography. Governments routinely use these issues for their own ends--often completely unrelated to the stated issue. Who doesn't hate child pornographers? Since the issue is so distasteful, not many people would question any authority which invokes it. If one does not come on side they might be suspect of having a simpathetic view. It is a modern day communism.

    20 years from now people will ask:
    What did each of us do to prevent the loss of our civil rights and the granting of all the technical tools required for a Orwellian monitoring of society.
    How we let our governments turn from being the citizen's friend to being decidedly neutral, or in some cases even malevolent.

    Sorry 'bout the length of the post, but the trends today give me the willies.


  • Contrary to the obstructionist views of our elected officials, Americans want the freedom to communicate with anyone in the world without the fear of eavesdropping.

    The only motivation stronger than the unreasonable lust for power in our executive branch is the unreasonable lust for interns.

    When the American public understands what the government is trying to do, the government will be voted out of office. Until such time, I hope that the global community continues to sell fine encryption products to the United States, as we are in obvious need of them.

    The products so far have been of very fine quality. Please send more!

  • The policy allows Canadians to develop, import and use whatever cryptography products they wish and does not impose mandatory key recovery requirements or a licensing regime.

    Just add "export" to that list and they'll become world leaders in e-commerce and other fields requiring easy-to-use security in no time, eh?

    Perhaps the US will then adopt import restrictions... in order to maintain some sliver of "American content". ;-)

  • Perhaps you should learn about what you write, my friend. If I may qoute: "...are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

    So, you are quite wrong when you say that "unless the constitution says this is your right...then that right belongs to the STATE" -- both in your construction (the Constitution says "States", meaning the individual States, whereas you say STATE, which I take to mean "the government") and in your impliction.

    On the other hand, it's not like anyone pays attention to the Ninth and Tenth Ammendments anyway. That is one of the prime reasons why I'm an anarchist. At least we admitt there's no such thing as written rule of law.

  • That he had a track reccord of getting things done and not allow for crappy two bit leaders like Hussein (Iraq) to go and tell him what to do?

    Get a clue. We didn't attack Iraq because Saddam is a dictator or because he invaded Kuait(sp). Once the oil fields were free we got the hell out of there. What I love is how Bush encouraged the muslim minority (forget if they're Sunni or Shite) and the Kurds to fight Saddam, but left them to be slaghtered once we had our precious oil.

    Yes, there were fuck ups during the Kosovo campaign, but at least we were there for the right reasons (even if it was about 6 years late).
  • I believe that can be summed up as...

    The Government of the Unites States wants people to participate, but not everyone can participate as president. (participate != control, and participate != "suspending suspicion" either for that matter)

    I'm refering more to participation happening on the "getting to know you" level.

    Your reference to the government pony show is very interesting. Every government has a sence that it must put on a pony show for its consituents. Companies put on pony shows for its investors. M$ puts on a big pony show. Having Girlfriends taught me the need to act in certain circumstances.

    I'm in a play right now in fact. And I can tell you that participating, even in the small level that I am lets me see a whole bunch of what happens behind the scenes. I've learned a lot about the real history behind what the play is about. I also see the need to present the play as it is. But, it is only through participating that I was able to learn these things. That is the same with government-buisness-girlfriends.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^ ^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~^~
  • Long Before either of us were born.
  • Face it, it's not going to be better under George W. Bush either.

    Why do you say this? What evidence do you have? I realize Bush Senior supported the Clipper chip to some extent and Clinton fell in love with it, but I have not heard anything good or bad about Bush Junior regarding encryption.
  • Ya know. There is some sort of silly science that uses such tricks to filter the "intent" of the letter. Somehow one replaces the main terms with some words out-of-context. It allows to "emboss" the state of mind of the author. It is a rather silly game but sometimes quite effective.

    But it is interesting to see this letter in this new "remake". First it shows that if this letter is a falsification, then it is a damn good one. All context looks relatively logic with the words replaced. Besides it shows the real concern of the author. It seems that is not worried too much about the dessimination of encryption itself. The author is damn worried about controlling the market of opaque.. uh encryption.

    Good shot you've done
  • anyone who honestly believes that crypto can be stopped, or even regulated, is braindead

    Oh no, you missed the point. Stopping encryption would be the worst outcome for the governments. The best outcome would be if only the bad-guys use it. You see breaking crypto is hard work, and you want to start off with a pretty good chance that what you're craking is worth it. Let's say that you can crack 1Kb/s of encrypted data. If you're listening to a pipe that has 10Mb/s you very quickly try to make sure that almost no-one mainstream uses crypto, just the "fringe".

    The thing that scares me so much about this one is not that its stupid, but that it's clever as all hell, and a refutation of every time I've asserted that our (US) government isn't capable enough to mount an effective offensive against its own people. Before, I was amused, now I'm scared.

    Hmm... Just in case anyone's listening... This is an obvious, and therefore bad idea. You want to try to be a little more subtle.

  • Well then all they need to do is prosecute people who use encryption. That makes their job much easier. And since their job is that much easier, they don't need so many people to it. Which means TAX CUTS!

    The private sector will benefit from this as well, especially Bailbondsmen, lawyer, court clerks, even building contractors (to build more prisons)!

    Remember those people that got sent to jail? Well, prior to sending them off to never-never land, we first confiscate every tangible item they own and auction it off (a la the war on drugs). This produces a profit for the government, which could in turn be turned around into more TAX CUTS.

    Then, we can put all those prisoners to work. Prisoners will probably work for even less than minimum wage... Think of the increase in corporate profits. Which get taxed. Which means that the government can lower our federal taxes even MORE!

    With this influx of spending money, more Americans can buy houses, and acquire other tangible assets... which in turn get taxed, eventually further lowering our federal taxes, to the point where you get paid just to be an American!

    See, they're only trying to take care of us!

    (The preceding is a joke! Even I do not take seriously!!!)
  • I somehow would be much more scared had bush become president
  • by Knight ( 10458 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @08:37AM (#1773992)
    We need to fight this like we have never fought anything before. This issue is probably the most important issue that the online community has faced to date, and if we stand idly by, we will lose the most important freedoms we have. It is absolutely imperative that we use every available means to fight this. I'm going to do my part, and I challenge everyone here to do the same. Freedom taken away by force can be retreived by force, but freedom given away is lost forever.
    ---------------------------------------- ---------------
    If you need to point-and-click to administer a machine,
  • #1, Why? The point is exactly that he was a criminal, and not just a criminal but an alternate government living inside the US. A *worse* government.

    #2 and #3, try learning about it some other way...
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~^ ~
  • PMFJI, but it really pains me to see you
    describe Vaclav Havel as 'Clinton's lackey'.

    Havel is probably the most respectable
    leader of _any_ country in Europe. This is
    a man who went to jail for protesting the
    government (late 1970s) but still had the
    presence of mind, once the regime fell
    and he was the head of government, to
    acknowledge that _everyone_ was guilty: that
    it was a system that everyone was complicit,
    not just the evil-leaders-of-the-past.

    A lot of his ideas about politics and economics
    are silly ... but he's got an uncommon amount
    of integrity, and he's the only leader of a
    former communist country i've seen who has the
    courage to admit the truth.
  • You mean Reno, don't you? Madeleine Albright is the Secretary of State, Janet Reno is the Director of the FBI and the author of this letter (which is way out of bounds for the FBI)

    Oops. My bad. However, Janet Reno is the Attorney General of the USA and is not the Director of FBI.

    Firstly, when the head of a branch of a government sends an official letter to the head of a branch of a different government, it is never "no more than her opinion".

    A-ah, so is this the official position of the US government? No? I didn't think so. Basically I think she was testing the waters. And there is nothing special about Germany, is there? Last time I looked I could download stuff just as easily from Holland, Israel, Russia, a bunch of country domains that I don't even know what they stand for, etc. etc.

    it is part of a coordinated effort by the FBI to make strong encryption unavailable.

    Again, you are probably thinking of the whole US law enforcement apparatus more than of FBI, but this is essentially correct. However his has been correct and widely known for a very long time.

    I don't know if Reno wears panties

    I dare not guess the sources of your information, but our friend Janet never struck me as a sexually adventurous type. Going pantiless around White House -- oh, my!

    We've been seeing a lot of "I'm scared, take away my rights so I feel safer" lately, particularly in the US.

    And we also saw a very strong backlash against attempts to do just that. Recall the Pentium ID fiasco, and that was quite a tame issue.

    The Bill of Rights has nothing to do with this letter, which was to put pressure on a German minister to do things in Germany.

    It is fairly obvious that doing things in Germany and only in Germany is pretty pointless. This can work only if possession is criminalized, or if all the nations in the world agree.

    It's also a hard battle to get the Bill of Rights to have something to do with this in the US. The courts are not consistant when they rule whether or not source code is protected speech. Binaries have never been protected by the Bill of Rights.

    You miss the point. It's not my encryption software that is protected by the Bill of Rights, but rather my right to encrypt documents. IANAL but I think it falls under the searches and seizures amendment. Besides, encryption is a fairly vague term. If I write something in Klingon, is it encrypted? And you don't necessarily need computers -- a pencil, some paper, and a one-time pad work perfectly well. The court may order you to surrender your key, but there has never been any talk of outlawing encryption as such.

  • Even though Wasenaar (sp?) specifically excludes "public domain" encryption software from the draconian control of the United States, is anyone surprised that the feds consider elimination of *all* encryption schemes to be a top priority? Make no mistake; this is not a government "for the people". Not at all.

    Let's just hope the rest of the world isn't as spineless as the U.S. is hoping they are.

    Nah. I mean, everybody signed Wasenaar, after all. Goodbye privacy.

  • Sorry, my bad. Louis J. Freeh is the Director of the FBI. Janet Reno is the Attorney General, head of the US Department of Justice, the boss of Louis J. Freeh, and the author of the letter (well, one of her aides probably wrote it, but she signed it). Madeleine K. Albright is the Secretary of State and not the author of the letter.

    This letter is still is a part of a long-term program by the DOJ and FBI to systematically remove the tools to protect our privacy in general, and encryption tools in particular.

  • My point about Reno being appointed during the Waco standoff was that initial (IMO incredibly stupid) attack was initiated by her predecessor (A Bush apointee).

    IMO once the standoff with a seperatist, heavily armed, apolypitic religous cult like the Branch Davidians had started a pecful ending is very unlikely.

    Yes Reno did take responsibilty for the way it ended, and obviously in hindsight it was a stupid was to try and end the standoff. However to say that the way that incident ended was indicative of the way a President in power for a few months and of his AG in office for a few weeks approaches civil rights is stupid. It takes time for a new leader of any organization to put his or her mark on the way that organization does business, and the bigger the organization the longer it takes. Waco (and obviously the pre-Clinton/Reno Ruby Ridge) is a result of Reagan & Bush's "tough on Crime" attitude.
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @08:38AM (#1774002) Homepage Journal

    Since when is Janet Reno an architect of foreign policy? Who gave her diplomatic status?

    The US Ambassador to Germany needs to put her in line posthaste.


  • the only rights people have in the US are expresly written into the Bill of Right and the constitution.

    ***BZZZZZTTT!!!*** Thank you for playing, and don't forget to pick up your consolation prize.

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    -- Article IX

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
    -- Article IX

  • Thank you Clinton voters, you picked a winner. He and those he has appointed have made great strides for freedom :)


  • It's really more like 1% lunatics. It's just that
    the U.S. is ~5000 km wide so there is a lot of
    room for wide open lunacy that can go unnoticed
    for decades.

    But you are quite correct. We are no longer a
    representative democracy. As least not for me.
    So I will vote 3rd party next time around. There
    is no longer any recognizable difference bewteen
    Democrat and Republican.

    Two parties are too few.
  • What does it matter who posted it, so long as it got posted? I don't want to sit by and let Big Brother (or Big Janet... *cough*) take me up the butt while I bitch about the fact that I saw them with that horny look in their eyes before you did...
  • And all it involves is an overthrow of the current nation-state system of governments! Let's do it!
  • How many times does it have to be said that the genie can't be let out of the bottle.

    Encryption software is not delivered from the heavens by some mysterious tube that somehow ends up on the internet. Crypto software is written by real people, with real brains, and can (in principle and in practice) be reproduced using the currently available mathematical knowledge. If they plan on banning the study of computer science, number theory and related branches of maths then we should all get ready for the dark ages!

  • the nation's capital better known as Ottawa is the Silicon Valley North man!!! Corel is here as well as half of Disney and ILM software designers!! If you want software, this is the place! and I just happen to live here...
  • np Canada is the shit, no better place on earth,
    ya our dollar is worth half, but we have free health care, nicer weather (safer anyway) and the best lookin women this side of the ocean!
  • by delld ( 29350 )
    Ban encription! Ban encription!
    No more Pay TV!
    No more E-Commerce!
    No more Digital Signatures!
    No more Shareware!
    No more Digital Money!
    No more Cell Phones!
    No more Passwords!
    No more Puzzel Books!
    No more Criptic Misspelt Slashdot Posts!

    Me thinks nobody would even dare!

    (Too bad the founding fathers ( & Mothers ) did not have the forethought to put free right to encription into the constitution )
  • The algorithms used by PGP have been extensively peer-reviewed in the cryptographic community, which is usually quite merciless on most algorithms. Unless EVERY MEMBER of that community has been co-opted (highly unlikely), any known weaknesses in the underlying algorithms would long since have been exposed.

    And since there are Open Source versions of the product, a programmer can verify for himself that the code is sound and conforms to the published specs on the algorithms. The output of the non-OS versions can then be compared to the OS output to check their integrity. I have not personally done this, but it does indicate that there is a complete chain of integrity for these products that a(n almost-) lay person could follow for himself.

    So yes, empirical evidence is available to vouch for the quality of some of these products. NOTE, however, there's a lot of schlock out there, too, such as practically everything available shrink-wrapped for idiots at your friendly local software retailer. Use the Source, Luke!
  • by artg ( 24127 )
    Do your US politicians really write letters like that ? It doesn't look like the sort of thing I'd expect from one government rep. to another .. far too direct and not nearly deniable enough.

    I'd check out the credentials a bit before going into the deep end ..

  • It could be an artifact of translation, She may have written the letter in german to begin with, or the site may have translated it back into english... I don't know.

    I did find that a little odd to
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Encrypted data is recognizable as such beacause of its randomness... its the only data that's as random as it is
    I'm not an expert in this field, but doesn't compressed data exhibit the same lack of redundancy as random and encrypted stuff?
  • "Do you have something to hide?"

    Why wasn't this marked "Troll"? Considering it's the same old argument, from an ANONYMOUS COWARD.
  • 1.4 of ours...
    but we have free health care which renders that 1.4 to an average person to about 1/1.4 instead, and if you are sickly, like 1/00 (infinity)
  • Sure, if you just ignore the no-fly zones and daily patrols that we run to protect them.
  • The Constitution does say that but if the people in charge do not respect the Constitution then it does not really matter what it says now does it?

  • Since Janet (according to c't - I didn't read the link from slashdot, but since c't and Telepolis are both Heise magazines, I assume the information ids the same :) ) specifically said she was very much against Germany's "free encryption" policy, I wonder what they will do next.

    Drop Bombs on Berlin?

    Fire Cruise Missiles at Hamburg?

    Hack into Chancellor Gerd Schroeder's Bank accounts?

    Bomb the German embassy in India due to an ah, outdated map? ("We thought this was Saddam's Palace, and we thought it was Bagdad not New Delhi"..)

    Don't get me wrong: I am not trying to critizise NATO's war against Yugoslavia, I firmly believe that dictatorships must be kept in check - There is NO place for genocide in Europe - and also especially when it comes to Nukes and stuff - but I think it's also time for the US to wake up and realize they're not alone on this planet.

    Who the fsck gave Janet the right to try and tell OUR elected government what to do about encryption? It's bad enough that Americans are spying on us every day, all days, all times.

    "Excuse me, but we just built this multi-billion dollar Echelon thing... It would be really too bad if you all started to encrypt your emails now - You don't want to make life difficult for us, do you?"

    Heck yes we do.
  • Actually if 99% of the population had half a clue, then maybe halfway decent people could get elected. It's not that we don't have more than two or three people to choose from, it's just those two or three people are good at getting the morons to vote for them in the first place. Take Clinton for instance: he's lied so much to the American people that his nose is as long as a telephone wire and people STILL like him. It would be very easy for a halfway decent person to get elected president it's just that the people who vote for them seem to like the liars and fall for it so thus they don't get elected because they're a good person, with good morals, good character, and would make a good president.

    Oh well, hopefully I'll die before everything gets really bad... I hope so... :)

  • The issue involved is one that deals with who has ownership of your personal information, and the information you generate as you conduct your day-to-day affairs. The fact that I prefer to keep my business MY business is only a statement that my life is my OWN, and not subject to public disclosure.
  • I Can't believe they could possibly think they could achieve such a goal. Look at the US war on drug's, now that was really an effective program by a government to crack down on something they didn't like.

    Will they ban courses on cryptographic theory, will they burn the books?.

    How will they ever stop some new piece of crypto software being written and being desseminated.

    It seems like a pointless excercise in futility.

    And if they ever did pass a law, outlawing it's use, and some PC weeney thinking he is cool using crypto to send a completely innocous email to a friend and get's picked up and incarcerated, assaulted in jail, and so on etc ...... What will have been the point.

    It would seem that such actions by any government will only affect the innocent. The real crim's will not only use the crypto and write it themselves, but they will also hide it's use.

    I am sure if I where a crim I certainly wouldn't send my email around with PGP headers alerting the fed's to the fact I was using crypto. I would use covert channels and hide the fact I was using crypto at all. Stick my encrypted data inside images, audio tracks (MP3's), there is more than enough data out there to hide the stuff that is encrypted.

    So now the fed's not only have to have the CPU power to decrypt the stuff, they have to find it first.
  • For most people who live 8/8/8 a day it may seem that such things as encryption can give a chance for terrorists, criminals and spies to roam freely over the Internet. That's not the case.

    Some years ago I had the good/bad chance to have some face-to-face with some mob elements. From that I can say one thing. No one in its good mind would massively use any special means of communication to pass information from one place to the other. It would immediately call the attention of enforcing organs. Meanwhile it is amazing that these people talk quite freely about their doings. However they are quite attained to use specific variations in slang to hold up critical information. On what concerns such things as bank accounts and some numeric/financial stuff they remark more their hidding efforts on the meaningless presentation of this data. Yes they use encryption and such stuff. But in most cases you may get the hidden information through several technological and practical means. It has to be noted that while one could care about encrypting an E-Mail, he may well forget to _wipe_ it from his own HDD. Besides there is a point that in some point in time either the receiver or the sender would have to possess the information open for themselves. A good observation process may give a lot of results in retrieving this information.

    But there is also another point that makes DOJ pointless. Does anyone know how 48 years of dictature ended in Portugal? Well April 25th ~1 in the morning (excuse me he dumb translation) on one radiostation the following verses sounded:

    Grandola (a protuguese village) "brunette" town
    Land of fraternity
    The people are those who overrule!

    This verses came from a popular half-censored dissident song of the time. However when they were said at that moment of that day, several divisions of the Portuguese Army were set on the road to step down a crappy regime of 48 years and a colonial war of 13 years.

    Besides one of these divisions had "set arrows" with another with a dumb telegram that sounded something like this:

    I'm sorry I couldn't call you yesterday. My aunt got sick but now it's ok. Anyway, tomorrow I'll fly to Lisbon

    So will DOJ also teach us how to express ourselves??
  • Compressed data lacks redundancy in that a file is packed together as tightly as possible. An encrypted file lacks redundancy in that aspect, as well as an added amount of "randomness" that supposedly (ideally), only the intended recipient can decode (in public-key implentations).

    Also, just about every file you'll ever transmit or recieve has recognizable headers. So do PGP'ed files... You could go and remove the headers, but then your file could be flagged as not having recognized headers and therefore should be inspected.

    I guess it's just a matter of how paranoid you care to be.

    I'm not an expert either, I've just taken to reading as much as I can so as to amass knowledge.

  • I have a much better idea than removing cryptographic software from the Internet. Simply remove Janet Reno from office.
  • Step 1: Key escrow becomes mandatory.
    Step 2: Someone repetitively cracks the third-party keys and posts them on non-US websites.
    Step 3: Consumers in the US refuse to use their credit cards on the internet, while other countries are making tons of dough.
    Step 4: E-commerce companies flip out.
    Step 5: Everyone is mad at the government.
    Step 6: The government reverses the law, or is replaced by one that will.
    Step 7: Encryption restrictions become as scary to politicians as the Vietnam war.

    And we never have problems with encryption regulations again.
    "I already have all the latest software."
  • No one takes Reno seriously, not the government, or the media. Everyone knows she's a nut.
  • Well, to be honest, I was afraid he'd do away with all my civil liberties.

    Looks like the joke's on me...

  • content of e-mail reading:

    "Hi Nat, this is a sample output of the random generator I wrote. Care to check it if it's any worth?"
    • What does the first amendment have to do with this? You are completely free to say whatever it is you want to say.
    You aren't free to say, "Here's an encryption program I wrote: ". Source code is speech, just as much as writing any other 'document' is."

    (Yes I know that the law is technically about the software and not the source code. But if you use an interpeted language like perl then they are the same thing.)

  • Wasn't it the japanese, in world war 2, that turned around and slaughtered themselves for fear of being captured by the allies?

    Kind of a Death before Dishonor kind of thing...
  • LOL,
    I know, it's cool.
    But that fits exactly with my point!
    What if the govt was scanning slashdot posting looking for the keyword "heroin". You could have just had your life ruined because of a typo. Yes information is very powerful and can be evil, but it's moderation must be done very carefully and within the bounds of the established rules, there shouldn't be exceptions when it comes to inalienable rights such as privacy for just this reason! The innocent must always be innocent! Thread postings don't make very good evidence anyway, there are a million ways they could be forged...

    Think about all the innocent peace loving people whose lives were ruined because of the cold war communist hatred... and compare it to the actual amount of people that were evil+communist...

  • What they want to do is be able say that anything that is encrypted must be so to hide it from the government. Right now, too many things are encrypted for them to tell what to start decoding. So if this law passes, put the string: "----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE----" around your messages just to mess up their filters. Just like we'll put random ECHELON keywords in our META tags.
    "I already have all the latest software."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What about encryption followed by stenography. You can stuff a lot on information into a graphics file with loseless compression by storing data on the lowest significant bit without degrading the quality of the picture.
  • Ummm... How do you know that the products are of such fine quality? Are you a coder? Mathematician? Or do you just believe that because you heard from someone else? I'm just curious.
  • Why even worry? We're talking about a government that couldn't even keep prohibition going, and that wasn't even a first amendment right. Our government bans some firearms and they end up being murder weapons. Our elected officials are all bark, no bite.
  • Clinton is delusional. He will say anything as long as he thinks he can benfit from it.
  • 1) The free (as in unimpeded, not as in gratis) flow of information is crucial to today's society in a world where knowledge is rapidly becoming more valuable than gold. This has implications for encryption, education, and the media (particularly censorship). Free-speech issues are also included here.
    2) Personal privacy is a vital aspect of personal freedom. This one also has implications for encryption.
    3) Free will is the vehicle which drives humanity forward and keeps us together even through the toughest times. Note, however, that the right to free will does not include the right to infringe upon the free will or other rights of anyone else. This has implications on censorship as well as other issues. Note that, of course, free will includes free speech.

    I dunno, but that sounds not all that far from the Libertarian position. Some people don't like the LP's position on a particular issue, where they feel the gov't should have more control. But if you think about the kind of system of goverment we have in the U.S., you realize that there will always be compromise, so unless the LP had 100% control of the gov't, and all of the office-holders were rabid platform-thumpers, it's not likely that the LP platform would be enacted unmodified.

    If you look at it realistically, if the LP started gaining support, and became a serious force in the gov't, it would make it *much* harder for anti-freedom legislation of all types to pass. That's what I want, so I vote mostly a straight LP ticket.

    I figure the authoritarians won't be going away anytime soon, so why not try to keep them in check?


  • Folks,

    Governments outlaw guns, so that only the government and criminals (who are some times the same group) will have weapons to determine your (the citizens) welfare and servitude to the bene-violent state.

    This Neo-Welt-Nazi (NWN) government perspective (control personnel protection weapons), by people of a little above normal inteligence, is true with the encryption issue globally. Control/take the weapons and encryption tools from the citizen and then the evil (politicians/criminals) will control the people.

    No one should ever think that any government is honest/good (individual politicians may be good), because an institution (Government) has no ethics (ethics/feelings/honor reside exclusivly [in varying degrees] in the individual human trust.).

    Never trust an institution (church, government, corporation, ...) and always be prepared to defend yourself, kith, and kin!
  • Under Republican Man Exploits Man, Under Democrats It's Just The Opposite.
  • If we are going to make strong encryption easily availible to everyone, we need to fight the battle as intelligent people, not as a bunch of cultish raving lunatics.

    You all are way too deep into this "Spy" buisness.... Step back and look at the big picture.

    Someone needs to form the "General Public For Computer Privacy" campain or something. Seriously, the word needs to get out, and to the general public, in simple words, without code and jargon, asap.

    If your mom could hit a button on her mail client that wraped up her email so that only her sister Betty could read it, she probably would... That's the goal of encription, even though it's not at a fully functional GUI level yet (and partly due to regulations).

    Now, tell all those people what encription really means... Tell them that any nosy 16 year old with a part time job at an ISP can probably read all thier email at will. Tell them that encription is about privacy, not about computer hackers in dark rooms braking into the CIA. Your not going to be able to keep encription until the general public understands what it really is.

    What are the legal implications? Does this mean that I can't email my friend in Denver if I use pgp in the future if the government has it's way? If that is the legal case, then, it could easily be made a legal case that I can't send him a letter in a sealed envlope with a stamp on it, because no one can "snoop" in the mail easily.

    The PEOPLE need to know, so someone needs to tell them. Janet Reno can get on CNN and tell the world that she is makeing it a safer place. Unless someone else can stand up, orginize, and get press coverage, they will believe it. If this was a matter of "makeing the world a safer place" and she proposed allowing open inspection of anyones house without a search warrent, don't you think there would be a few people who could easily understand it and explain the implications to those who don't?

    The REAL problem is, we are all just preaching to the choir here... Everyone agrees that we would like to be able to at least ATTEMPT to have a little privacy... But, can you really explain it in terms that your parents, your ministers, your school teachers, and your children can understand? That's where the effort should be focused.

  • The ban on encryption software could well be unconstitutional.

    Forget free speech for a moment; this is another set of grounds. Consider that another amendment forbids illegal search and seizure. Encryption's whole purpose is to guard against such things. Therefore, it could be said that banning encryption is an infringement on Constitutional protection from illegal search and seizure. In fact, since Echelon has been proven to exist, that's exactly what the encryption ban is.

    The primary purpose of law enforcement is to punish those who break the law (be it by removing them from society or imposing fines or other punishments), and it always has been. "Prevention" is only a secondary purpose, an one which has always been carried out only indirectly. Perhaps Janet Reno has forgotten this. I very much doubt that she intends to be the totalitarian dictator she seems to want to become. Then again, I also doubt that she's ever read Milton.
  • Already been done: Superdemocracy by (the late) Tim Stryker (of Galacticomm fame). Published in 1992 or 1993 by Cool Hand Publishing, which is in either Ft. Lauderdale or Boca Raton Florida.

  • US Crypto Laws are in violation of the fourth amendment of the US constitution. Which states the rights of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects...
    ...shall not be violated...
    ...yada yada need a warrant...

    anyway, point is, "papers" can be interpreted as meaning documents, which can refer to computer data. Therefore, the US government cannot make any laws that may prohibit anyone (US citizen or not) from having access to things neccesary to the security of their documents.
  • This should be dropped to a -1.. i'm Muslim, and offended.

    ..................................@ @
  • Bush declared the War On Drugs, which is when the US stopped being a free country.

    Today's attempts at monitoring are simply extensions of the work that was begun there.

    Folks, we are some of the only people who understand how bad this is. It is crucial that we fight this tooth and nail, because your Average Citizen just isn't going to get it unless we tell him or her.

    The War on Drugs turned out to be a war on freedom. Know Your Customer, FIDNet and removal of encryption from the public domain are simply methods of locking that loss down permanently. You must already show your papers at checkpoints to travel from an airport. How much closer to Nazi Germany do you want to get?

    Make no mistake: if encryption is outlawed, your children will be raised in bondage.

    Once they have outlawed encryption, systems wizards (those evil "hacker people") are the next target.
  • The National Security Agency is, suprise-suprise, in charge of National Securiy. That's what they do. Their purpose is to prevent events from occuring that could damage the US as a nation. That definetly takes precedence over commercial interests.
  • "Why do we feel that we need to conceal what we are doing from the government? Why does the Government feel it needs to conceal from us? I think more participation is the best way to expose what is going on to sunlight, and as Learned Hand once said, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." Now I agree Credit Card and passwd info needs to be encrypted, every e-mail does not! The future of encryption as I see it is: A limit on the number of CHARACTERS that is permitted to be encrypted...say 20. That should cover both passwd and CC. Plus it will prevent easy communication between all thoes terrorists. Would you trust the government to make the decision which is confidential and which isn't?

    Also, your 20 characters only covers a very small subset of the information I encrypt.

    Today I encrypted someone's name and address. He'd much rather it didn't get into someones else's hands, so I fired up pgp and now only I can read it. That's about 80 characters.

    I've also got a story I'm writing. I don't want anyone to read it until it's finished. It's approximatly 50,000 characters.

    The SSL server at work has transfered approximatly 1.5Gb of encrypted traffic in the last 3 weeks. Perhaps much of this didn't need to be encrypted, but it's just a dumb server - it has no way of recognizing a password from a graphic.

    Now, I've got no particular reason to conceal any of these from the government, but I do have reason to make it hard to decrypt, as there are plenty of people who can decrypt 40 or 56 bit encryption in an unacceptably short amount of time, and with the ever declining cost of CPU cycles, I know of no way of ensuring that only a govermental CPU can crack a system while a private CPU cannot.

  • Ok here we go once again: "It is a fake! No it is Eternal Truth!"

    Please before stating such things give some argumentation and analysis.

    Yes it is probable that the letter is a fake. But do we have any grounds to consider it this way? Well there is one point. The letter is relatively superficial about its subject. It may be called a letter not meaning too much above general considerations.

    However the last paragraph remarks that this is only a letter of intent. The author just tries to recall its intention to continue a discussion that was left somewhere...

    Besides the letter is rich in specific terms and presents an internal logic. Note that usually fakes intend to be quite silly on the whole context of the text. Most authors of the fake worry much more about "hot phrases" and $50 dollar words among cheap statemants and disregard how the whole thing would look like. Here we don't have such case. However this does not demonstrate that this is a fake.

    There is one thing that may prove/deny a fake at certain extent. How public is the content of this text? By nearly 100% everyone knows about this. In one way or the other all this information has been mostly public. Some facts may be not so well known but that's a problem of the audience not the sources. So someone could have made a smart fake that would run very near DOJ activities. Only some salt makes it "hot" by the wording around "public domain". Well considering some later "backstage games", there is some data remarking DOJ's attempts to make a "last and final" landing exactly in that field. So the letter, by timing, context and external data fits well here.

    So it is quite probable that this letter is not a fake at all. It is just a polite call over a powerful interlocutor to continue what DOJ has been doing recently: Try to put everyone in its bandwagon.
  • Us: Hey, they want to ban all encryption.
    E-Commerce: Fine by us.
    Us: That means SSL is dead, and passwords and credit cards will be sent in the plaintext.
    Consumers: We won't shop the net anymore!
    E-Commerce: Eeep! Hey, Feds, here's a big bag of money!
    Gov't: Um, we suddenly have no problem with encryption.
    Us: Yay!
    (Heck, special interests work for most groups,
    why not here?)

    Seriously, to ban any encryption on the net is
    nearly impossible. And again, are criminals
    (the ones they are fighting against) going to care
    if encryption software is legal or not?

  • Guvf vf onq. V'ir whfg tbggra cnegf bs gur Fjrqvfu tbireazrag gb yvfgra gb gur nethzragf ba jul fbsgjner cngragf vf onq, naq abj V unir gb tb nsgre gurz nobhg rapelcgvba gbb? Bu jryy.
  • No way. Albright was basically saying "wouldn't it be nice if encryption wasn't available to non-government entities". This is no more than her opinion. Granted, her opinion carries some weight, but it's a faaaaaar way from actually enacting coordinated legislation that would prohibit private encryption.

    So don't get your panties all bunched up. This is not going to happen for a very large set of reasons, starting with political climate and ending with the Bill of Rights (at least for Americans).

  • I think you people are overreacting a bit here. Janet Reno never says that she wants to encourage the banning of all encryption software. What she is requesting is cooperation in enforcing the rules of the Wassenar Agreement on electronically distributed software, as well as software sold in stores, etc. She is not saying that they should ban all distribution of encryption (although she might like that, it is not what she says).

    Granted, I am as against restrictions against cryptography as anyone, but if we go on a holy war of flammage on this one, we are going to look like illiterate morons. Reno is advocating that no exception to the export regulations be made for public domain and/or electronically distributed software.

    If we are going to make strong encryption easily availible to everyone, we need to fight the battle as intelligent people, not as a bunch of cultish raving lunatics.
  • I'm afraid you're correct. According to his web site:

    That means easing export controls on computers and encryption products that can already be purchased on the open market.

    But then he follows that up with:

    At the same time, as the use of encryption programs increases, American law enforcement must always have the resources to stay ahead of the criminal use of that technology.

    He just don't get it, folks. The only way to "stay ahead of the criminal use of that technology," even partially, is some kind of key escrow. And that will only work with law-abiding criminals who use legal encryption software. Ultimately, that is not the answer for people who live in a (nominally) free country.

    I'm sticking with the Libertarian Party []. They may not be perfect, but I agree with them a heck of a lot more often than I agree with any other party.


  • > Republicans believe in LESS government control.

    What about them there ten commandments, hm? Thank you, but I would prefer a government that didn't put me away for having sex with my girlfriend and not in the missionary position.

    They are all tired of the perks of office. They want the power of controlling every thought and action now. They claim it's to make us safer, but people fought and died and killed so that we would be safe from precisely this sort of thing.
  • Certain experiences have come close. I direct you to the story What Not To Write On Your Security Clearance Form [].
  • by dougman ( 908 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @08:51AM (#1774157)
    Top 10 documents Janet Reno DOES still want encrypted:

    DISCLAIMER: I'm making the following list all up. Please, government people, don't come do bad things to me. I'm just kidding. Really.

    10) Secret love letters to Regis Philbin
    9) Details of her high school post prom party, where she engaged in inappropriate relations with a llama,as written in a letter to a friend
    8) All memoes regarding the "incident" where Ms. Reno accidentally left a pair of kneepads in the Oval Office
    7) Memo condoning chinese water torture for Kevin Mitnick
    6) Request card from PC Magazine placing an order for the book "Internet Access for Dummies"
    5) logfiles from 75 Anonymous Coward "First Posts" to Slashdot, dated several hours after delivery of book mentioned above
    4) Hotel receipts indicating preference for in-room hardcore pornography movies featuring men with three testicles
    3) Letter from Al Gore thanking her for looking the other way
    2) Letter from Bill Gates telling her "no, you have to push the start button in the lower left corner first"
    1) All documentation related to failed top-secret cosmetic surgery experiements she was involved with in the seventies that went horribly, horribly wrong.

    DISCLAIMER: I'm making the following list all up. Please, government people, don't come do bad things to me. I'm just kidding. Really.
  • by PigleT ( 28894 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @08:52AM (#1774165) Homepage
    Hash: SHA1


    That's just totally evil. As a protest, this is signed using GnuPG - properly
    GPL'd and everything :)

    Restricting everyone's right to communicate in any fashion they like is
    basically assuming everyone's guilty until proven innocent, which sucks.


    Version: GnuPG v0.9.8 (GNU/Linux)
    Comment: For info see

    iEYEARECAAYFAjeh5wcACgkQh3MeQyZWueRh+wCeJfrfIVL9 U+0OehDWsnfST3/9
    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

  • The govt's new policies they introduced over the last week on encryption and net watching.... They really make me angry.

    If they get their way, their internet spying would be the equivalent of opening and reading every letter I mail through USPS, and listening and recording every phone call, cell call, page, or fax I make.

    Just because its easy for them to spy on my actions over the net doesn't make it right. The problem is the public at large is totally uneducated about this. If we explained that it is real similar to reading letters and listening to phone calls the public would coredump in their pants.

    This is disgusting. Its clear to me that Reno and the govt really hates the public at large. Get rid of encryption on the net and you kill business on the net. Get rid of business on the net and ruin an important part of the future economy and our lives.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 1999 @08:53AM (#1774172)
    Wassenaar does allow for public domain encryption software to be freely distributed.
    Reno wants the special clause allowing this to be removed.
  • And again, are criminals (the ones they are fighting against) going to care if encryption software is legal or not?

    It's easier to grab criminals when all you have to do is intercept something that is encrypted. You can bust them for that. Kinda like getting Al Capone on tax evasion.

  • You know, I've been considering the platforms for various parties, and there really isn't one that could be considered "moderate." All of them are too extreme in some manner or another. On one end, of course, there's the Green party, Libertarians, and anarchists. On the other you have Communists, totalitarians, reactionaries, and the religious right.

    Even Democrats and Republicans are extreme, though not as extreme as most of the others. And that "reform party" is just as bad.

    Even in other nations, the parties are the same general way. Sure, they go by different names, but no political party has its head screwed on quite right. It's just a matter os differences in where the extremities occur.

    What we need is a "Common-Sense Party," for lack of a better term. Or perhaps a better name would be "Technologist Party." Something which places strong values on personal freedom and works to ensure it while striking a real balance between personal freedom and governmental authority (in other words, a balance which is even between the two, rather than tipped too far towards either end, which all the political parties I've seen are). I think it's a possibility.

    Major issues include:

    1) The free (as in unimpeded, not as in gratis) flow of information is crucial to today's society in a world where knowledge is rapidly becoming more valuable than gold. This has implications for encryption, education, and the media (particularly censorship). Free-speech issues are also included here.
    2) Personal privacy is a vital aspect of personal freedom. This one also has implications for encryption.
    3) Free will is the vehicle which drives humanity forward and keeps us together even through the toughest times. Note, however, that the right to free will does not include the right to infringe upon the free will or other rights of anyone else. This has implications on censorship as well as other issues. Note that, of course, free will includes free speech.

    Anyone else care to expand on this? Comments? Anything?
  • Don't you realize that Janet only wants to "protect the children?" The only problem with Janet is that her idea of "protecting" someone is to douse them with CS cut with methylene chloride, then burn them to death.

    Sometimes I think this is all part of some grand conspiracy, sometimes I have to chalk it up to stupidity on a grand scale. I lean towards "stupidity" on this one--anyone who honestly believes that crypto can be stopped, or even regulated, is braindead.

  • by On Lawn ( 1073 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @08:59AM (#1774188) Journal
    A Government can only keep secrets from its own people.

    A measure of how dis-satisfied people are with their government, is...

    1) The level of armament of the police
    2) The need for a government to "know what its people are up to."


    The movie "Untouchables" makes a very good point about how the police were representing the federal government, but everyone was *in essence* supporting a different government.

    Even then, Al Capone's ledger book was encrypted. Why did Al Capone feel like he couldn't trust the Government with a knowledge of his buisness doings? Becuase the government was so corrupt that they were ready to squash such privacy for its own preservation. Remember how he even payrolled government officials? He was certainly an active supporter of the federal government.

    Now obviously that is a little tongue in cheek, but it does point out how this issue is not very resolvable in a debate. Yet the solution is very clear. What keeps Open source so secure? Because it is open, and people can look for daggers so easily.

    But even more than that there is participation. People are looking for daggers in software they want to use. Ever dream of working for the Air Force, just to find out if something is happening in Area 51? Ever want to work for the UN to get in on all the secrets that are passed there?

    Why do we feel that we need to conceal what we are doing from the government? Why does the Government feel it needs to conceal from us? I think more participation is the best way to expose what is going on to sunlight, and as Learned Hand once said, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~ ^~~~^~~^~
  • The thought of our government regulating privacy policy makes about as much sense as Bill Clinton regulating the National Blow Job Policy. They would get it all and we'd get none. Scary.
  • by reverse solidus ( 30707 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @09:02AM (#1774195) Homepage
    ... even if you really want the authority to be right.

    Not everything you read on the internet is true. There's no proof that Janet Reno wrote the letter, other than the "reliable source, no really, trust us" note at the end.

  • Kaa writes:

    No way. Albright was
    You mean Reno, don't you? Madeleine Albright is the Secretary of State, Janet Reno is the Director of the FBI and the author of this letter (which is way out of bounds for the FBI)

    basically saying "wouldn't it be nice if encryption wasn't available to non-government entities". This is no more than her opinion.

    Firstly, when the head of a branch of a government sends an official letter to the head of a branch of a different government, it is never "no more than her opinion". Secondly, it is not saying "Wouldn't it be nice", it is strongly recommending that the German Secretary of Justice take action to stop the distribution of encryption software over the internet from Germany. Whether Minister Däubler-Gmelin listens is a different issue, the fact that we are pressuring them to do this is bad enough.

    Granted, her opinion carries some weight, but it's a faaaaaar way from actually enacting coordinated legislation that would prohibit private encryption.

    Of course it is, but don't brush it off as "her opinion", it is part of a coordinated effort by the FBI to make strong encryption unavailable.

    So don't get your panties all bunched up.

    I don't know if Reno wears panties, I think you might be thinking of an earlier FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover :-)

    This is not going to happen for a very large set of reasons, starting with political climate

    I don't see how the political climate is against this sort of thing. We've been seeing a lot of "I'm scared, take away my rights so I feel safer" lately, particularly in the US.

    and ending with the Bill of Rights (at least for Americans).

    The Bill of Rights has nothing to do with this letter, which was to put pressure on a German minister to do things in Germany. It's also a hard battle to get the Bill of Rights to have something to do with this in the US. The courts are not consistant when they rule whether or not source code is protected speech. Binaries have never been protected by the Bill of Rights.

  • by Spectre ( 1685 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @09:10AM (#1774218)
    It is becoming increasingly evident that we must do something to stop the proliferation of personal automobiles.

    It is not our intent to halt an individual's transportation rights, there already exists several means of transportation for individuals, such as the horse.

    Personal automobiles are a threat to the public security, as they allow terrorists to rapidly move about with concealed packages (such as heavy weapons or even a thermonuclear bomb).

    As you can see, this threat cannot be allowed to continue. It is time to purge our country of these risky machines!

    It is becoming increasingly evident that we must do something to stop the proliferation of personal encryption.

    It is not our intent to halt an individual's communication rights, there already exists several means of communication for individuals, such as the text.

    Personal encryption programs are a threat to the public security, as they allow terrorists to rapidly discuss obscured plans (such as for heavy weapons or even a thermonuclear bomb).

    As you can see, this threat cannot be allowed to continue. It is time to purge our country of these risky programs!

    Uh, hello, anyone home? The car is out of the garage, everybody knows how to build one, you can't stuff it back in the garage!

  • How far do you think most Free Software would be without electronic distribution.
    Quite the competative advantage to unethical companies, you can only get crypto on a nice shiny CD, probaly binary only full of backdoors, and there won't be ANYTHING you can do about it

    When did the US gov stop being for the people?
  • Remember the Boston Tea Party? The colonists were under incredibly strict and unhuman laws that stripped them of their rights. What did they do? Chucked a bunch of crates of tea out into the ocean, even though it was blatantly illegal.

    I believe there comes a point when citizens must take the Constitution at its face value, as it was meant to be, and take measures against senseless government totalitarianism.
    Now, this doesn't mean scalping copies of Microsoft stuff--people are trying to make a valid living off that--but if encryption software can only be found on underground warez sites, then that's where we'll all have to go.

    We have the right to privacy, to free speech, and anonymity. Do what you can, where you can, but just don't let this slide.

  • by Tekmage ( 17375 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @09:19AM (#1774241) Homepage

    I've always likened the need for encryption to our present use of curtains. Here's a little spin to demonstrate why.

    s/cryptography/opaque window/g;

    Dear Minister Däubler-Gmelin:

    I wish to thank you and your Government for you efforts to achieve a fair resolution regarding multilateral export controls on curtains products at the recent Wassenaar plenary session on December 2-3, 1998. While no Nation, including the United States, was completely satisfied, I think we made significant progress toward a regime that can support the interests of national security and public safety in the face of the challenges posed by the increasing use of curtains internationally. Given the divergent opaque window policies that the Wassenaar Nations have supported in the past, and the continuing controversy that opaque window policy continues to generate, that 33 Nations managed to find common ground augurs well for our future ability to find solutions that satisfy the divergent needs of privacy, low-cost commerce, national security, and public safety.

    Much work remains to be done. In particular, I believe we must soon address the risks posed by low-cost distribution of curtains fabric. Although the Wassenaar Nations have now reached agreement to control the distribution of mass market curtains fabric of certain woven opacity, some Wassenaar Nations continue not to control curtains fabric that is distributed over the counter, either because the fabric is in the "public domain" or because those Nations do not control distribution of privacy-enabling items. While I recognize that this issue is controversial, unless we address this situation, use of the counter to distribute curtains products will render Wassenaar's controls immaterial.

    I look forward to our continuing discussions on these and other issues. And again, thank you for your past and future considerations of these issues.

    Sincerely, Janet Reno

    -- get the idea.

  • > if we go on a holy war of flammage on this one, we are going to look like illiterate morons

    N0 WHAY, THAT W1LL N0T HAPP3N!!!!1
    W3 HAV3 2 5P33K UP L0UD && CL33R!!!!!!1
    D0N"T L3T TH3 F3DZ D0 TH15!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

    0R 3LS3 N3XT T1M3 THAY W1LL CUM AFT3R ALL US 3L33T D00DZ!!!!!!!!!!11
    U HAV3 2 DRAW A L1NE 1N TH3 5AND N0W!!!

    ------ ------ ------
  • by noeld ( 43600 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @09:21AM (#1774245) Homepage
    According to the Department of Justice FAQ on Encryption Policy []
    The Administration generally, and law enforcement particularly, are not trying to ban encryption. Law enforcement supports the responsible spread of strong encryption. Use of strong encryption will help deter crime and promote a safe national information infrastructure.

    But in the letter she says:

    Much work remains to be done. In particular, I believe we must soon address the risks posed by electronic distribution of encryption software.

    Very different.

    I would bet that the latter more accuratly shows the policy of the DOJ.

    Is not strong and trusted encryption software built by the open and free flow of ideas. How strong would the encryption be that is available to everyone but the governments if there was no electronic distribution?

    Check out the Lance Armstrong Foundation []

  • by NatePuri ( 9870 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @09:24AM (#1774261) Homepage

    Check out []. I've worked on some papers that explain what the problem is [] and how to fix it [].

    People are signing up to help everday. Mirrors, applications, web services are coming, and they are going to be free, anonymous, and no advertisements allowed.

    This is an open source project so we need help.

    Whether you are a hacker, engineer, web designer, writer, are just curious, there is a something to be done.

    As you all can tell from this article, the US government is moving at top speed to halt computer security for the masses.

    Since the US government is acting fast, so must the rest of us. Don't just mumble and grumble about the loss of your rights, use your skills to claim ownership of your rights.

    Only you can prevent totalitarianism. You must act, this war is being fought online and without national borders. Wherever you live, the time is now to counteract censorship, government monitoring and control.

    This is not a paranoid delusion; if you think it is, then remain as you are and accept that consequences that are indeed mounting.

    I will post messages like this on /. for every article that relates to limits on crypto. Flame me if you want. I can take it....

  • Ruby Ridge happened in the summer of 1992, BEFORE Clinton was elected and BEFORE Reno was appointed.

    In fact Reno was appointed DURING the Waco standoff, so you can blame ruby Ridge and the initial incredibly boneheaded paramilitary-assult-with-cameras-in-tow on George Bush and his appointees. Bush of course was a Republican and for some reason alot people seem to think that the Republicans care more about civil rights than the other lot. People who point to Waco & Ruby Ridge as examples of Clinton & Reno's disregard for civil rights are blaming THE WRONG PEOPLE Blame the GOP if you must blame a political party. The only "civil right" that the GOP care about more than the Democrats is the 2nd amendment. After all its every American's right to defend himself against bad stock market investemnts with a hand gun.
  • by Ektanoor ( 9949 ) on Friday July 30, 1999 @09:28AM (#1774269) Journal
    Everyone who knows the inners of networks knows perfectly how easy is to eavesdrop any unsecured communication. Every *NIX that respects himself have at least one tool that permits such thing. Some have even a whole artillery inside. Take trinux ( for example.

    However it seems that US DOJ is completely blind to such things. Their will for power is so big that they simply ignore technical specifities, customer interests, public opinion and now diplomatic relations. It is simply amazing how a government body, caring for the justice of its citizens, not only violates their rights but also interferes in the rights of citizens of other countries. DOJ is becoming a danger not only to the national interests of the United States of America but also the whole World.

    Apart of this there are two points that turn DOJ activities into a danger of a much broader sense. First is the field they intend to dominate. Encryption is not only an activity but also a scientific and technological field. No one knows what may become tomorrow if they go with this one. They may not only turn Encryption and Signals Encoding scientific fields into a theoretical and technological swamp. Tomorrow someone may well try to shrink the information contained in other fields, turning all Science and Technology into a stalinist dogma. Let us remember that all the crazyness that happenned in USSR during Stalin had started almost the same way. First Economics suffered the first blow. The reasons were quite parallel, in some sense, to DOJ's type of argumentation. Public dessimation of wrong theories about Economy could undermine the hard effort of building the new socialist relationships in the production fields. People would be teached "capitalist" selfish ideas on how to grab others.

    All this ended with a weird world where even Darwin was considered a demagogue. Even the founder of modern rocketry in Russia, Korolev had to pass some years in the GULAG. While all these Stalin crazy years didn't last enough to destroy Russian scientific institutes, a lot of its madness echoes even today. Besides, this steel fist on Science fueled a whole set of paranormal extortionists, religious sectants, and criminals of the boo-boo Science, who made their life out of the ignorance of the masses. This was particularly seen on the end of USSR.

    But DOJ does not end here. They are starting to act as much as the organs of internal affairs of some totalitarian countries. They now determine what is good or bad for their people. It seems that they are not satisfied to have just The Law behind them. They are excited to get The Truth also.

"And remember: Evil will always prevail, because Good is dumb." -- Spaceballs