1994-06-15 - Brooks Statement on Crypto

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From: David Banisar <Banisar@epic.org>
To: clipper@washofc.cpsr.org
Message Hash: 3f8948d656642973caa7c0b277aef85c93a12fd44759aab87fc7b0951e378c17
Message ID: <9406141420.AA25852@Hacker2.cpsr.digex.net>
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UTC Datetime: 1994-06-15 18:36:19 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 15 Jun 94 11:36:19 PDT

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From: David Banisar <Banisar@epic.org>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 94 11:36:19 PDT
To: clipper@washofc.cpsr.org
Subject: Brooks Statement on Crypto
Message-ID: <9406141420.AA25852@Hacker2.cpsr.digex.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

  The following statement by Rep. Jack Brooks (D-TX) was today 
  entered in the Congressional Record and transmitted to the 
  House Intelligence Committee.  Rep. Brooks is Chairman of the 
  House Judiciary Committee and played a key role in the 
  passage of the Computer Security Act of 1987 when he served 
  as Chairman of the House Government Operations Committee.
  David Sobel <sobel@epic.org>
  Legal Counsel
  Electronic Privacy Information Center
       For some time now, a debate has been raging in the media 
  and in the halls of Congress over the Administration's 
  intention to require U.S. corporations to use and market the 
  Clipper Chip, an encryption device developed in secret by the 
  National Security Agency.
       The Clipper Chip will provide industry and others with 
  the ability to encode telephone and computer communications.  
  The use of the Clipper Chip as the U.S. encryption standard 
  is a concept promoted by both the intelligence and law 
  enforcement communities because it is designed with a back 
  door to make it relatively easy for these agencies to listen 
  in on these communications.
       The law enforcement and intelligence communities have a 
  legitimate concern that advances in technology will make 
  their jobs more difficult.  But the issue here is whether 
  attempts to restrict the development, use and export of 
  encryption amounts to closing the barn door after the horse 
  has already escaped.
       The notion that we can limit encryption is just plain 
  fanciful.  Encryption technology is available worldwide -- 
  and will become more available as time goes on.
       First, generally available software with encryption 
  capabilities is sold within the U.S. at thousands of retail 
  outlets, by mail, even, over the phone.  These programs may 
  be transferred abroad in minutes by anyone using a public 
  telephone line and a computer modem.
       Second, it is estimated that over 200 products from  
  some 22 countries -- including Great Britain, France, 
  Germany, Russia, Japan, India, and South Africa -- use some 
  form of the encryption that the Government currently 
  prohibits U.S. companies from exporting.  According to the 
  May 16, 1994 issue of _Fortune_, not only are U.S. companies 
  willing to purchase foreign encryption devices, American 
  producers of encrypted software are also moving production 
  overseas to escape the current export controls.
       Third, encryption techniques and technology are well 
  understood throughout the world.  Encryption is routinely 
  taught in computer science programs.  Text books explain the 
  underlying encryption technology.  International 
  organizations have published protocols for implementing high 
  level encryption.  Actual implementations of encryption -- 
  programs ready to use by even computer novices -- are on the 
       The only result of continued U.S. export controls is   
  to threaten the continued preeminence of America's computer 
  software and hardware companies in world markets.  These 
  restrictive policies jeopardize the health of American 
  companies, and the jobs and revenues they generate.
       I support, therefore, the immediate revision of current 
  export controls over encryption devices to comport with the 
  reality of worldwide encryption availability.
       I believe law enforcement and the intelligence community 
  would be better served by finding real, and targeted ways to 
  deal with international terrorists and criminals rather than 
  promoting scattershot policies, which restrict American 
  industries' ability to design, produce and market technology.
       Now -- more than ever -- we cannot afford to harm our 
  economic competitiveness and justify it in the name of 
  national security.