ALERT: White House attacks crypto on U.S. soil! (3/28/1997)
Mar 29, 1997 03:25 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain
------- Forwarded message follows -------
___ _ _____ ____ _____ _
/ _ \| | | ____| _ \_ _| | THE CRYPTO BATTLE HAS BEGUN!
| |_| | | | _| | |_) || | | | CLINTON ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES CONTROL OF
| _ | |___| |___| _ < | | |_| ENCRYPTION FOR AMERICANS ON U.S. SOIL
|_| |_|_____|_____|_| \_\|_| (_) March 28, 1997
Do not forward this alert after May 1, 1997.
This alert brought to you by:
Center for Democracy and Technology
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Voters Telecommunications Watch
Table of Contents
What's Happening Right Now
What You Can Do Now
What's At Stake
WHAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW
On March 26, 1997, the Clinton Administration proposed draft legislation
which would, for the first time, impose DOMESTIC RESTRICTIONS on the
ability of Americans to protect their privacy and security online.
In its current form, the draft bill seeks to impose a risky
"key-recovery" regime which would compel American citizens to ensure
government access to their private communications. Law enforcement and
national security agents would not even need a court order to access
private decryption keys.
Congress is currently considering three separate bills which would
prohibit the government from imposing "key-recovery" domestically, and
encourage the development of easy-to-use, privacy and security tools
for the Net.
As more and more Americans come online, the Administration's plan is a
giant step backwards and would open a huge window of vulnerability to
the private communications of Internet users. Americans expect more
when conducting private conversations with their doctors, families,
business partners, or lawyers.
Please read the Alert below to find out what you can do to protect your
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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. The time to blast Congress or the White House
with phone calls and emails will come, but now is not the appropriate
Instead, please take a few minutes to learn more about this important
issue, and join the Adopt Your Legislator Campaign at
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. Beginning Monday March 31, call the White House
Internet public interest advocates continue to work the Hill in support
of the three true encryption reform bills in Congress, Pro-CODE, SAFE, &
ECPA II. If you still feel a need to voice your opinion, however, you can
call the White House to express your opinion.
Step 1 - Beginning Monday March 31, call the White House
Call 202-456-1111 9am-5pm EST. Ignore the voice mail survey and
press '0' to get a comment line operator.
Step 2 - Tell them what you think about intrusions into your privacy!
Operator: Hello, White House comment line!
SAY YOU: I'm calling to oppose president's Internet encryption bill.
THIS -> It infringes on the privacy of Americans. We need a solution
to the encryption issue that protects privacy, and this is not
Operator: Thank you, I'll pass that along to the President.
3. Spread the Word!
Forward this Alert to your friends. Help educate the public about the
importance of this issue.
Please do not forward after May 1, 1997.
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
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
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.
For more information, contact the following organizations who have signed onto
this effort at their web sites.
Center for Democracy and Technology http://www.cdt.org
Press contact: Jonah Seiger, +1.202.637.9800
Eagle Forum http://www.eagleforum.org
Press contact: Phyllis Schlafly, +1.314.721.1213
Electronic Frontier Foundation http://www.eff.org
Press contact: Stanton McCandlish, +1.415.436.9333
Voters Telecommunications Watch http://www.vtw.org
Press contact: Shabbir J. Safdar, +1.718.596.7234
Wired Magazine http://www.wired.com
Press contact: Todd Lappin, +1.415.276.5224
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