1993-03-23 - Re: HIDE: embedded msgs in grphics & snd

Header Data

From: Duncan Frissell <76630.3577@CompuServe.COM>
To: <cypherpunks@toad.com>
Message Hash: 2161256e2a294f29af9833bdb0e1f8f5047ca179e7311e7cd6b889e291461c0d
Message ID: <93032319593176630.3577_EHL41-1@CompuServe.COM>
Reply To: _N/A

UTC Datetime: 1993-03-23 20:08:48 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 23 Mar 93 12:08:48 PST

Raw message

From: Duncan Frissell <76630.3577@CompuServe.COM>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 93 12:08:48 PST
To: <cypherpunks@toad.com>
Subject: Re: HIDE: embedded msgs in grphics & snd
Message-ID: <930323195931_76630.3577_EHL41-1@CompuServe.COM>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

>>>For exactly this reason, I don't think that this is a very good
>>>idea. The discussion here started as a search for a way to make
>>>encrypted data not look like encrypted data. (Once it becomes illegal).

I tell you three times, I tell you three times, I tell you three times...

The Feds are *not* going to outlaw encryption.  They believe in 
encryption.  They even have official bodies designed to encourage 
encryption.  They are not even going to outlaw encryption they can't 
break.  They are internally split on the issue.  By the time they got 
around to actually *doing* anything, we will have been online with a 
fully encrypted communications system for years.  

They can't move fast enough.  They lack the overall control of the 
networks to implement such a proposal.  There would be First Amendment 

In order for such regulation to be enacted, there would have to be a 
collective appreciation of the risk that encryption poses to the world's 
States (it risks their destruction but we won't tell them that).  This 
is too much of a high order abstraction for a collective decision making 
process to handle.  We've had powerful encryption techniques for a 
while in any case.  One-time pads are more than 100 years old, aren't 

"Publication" in the international realm is not subject to local laws in 
any case.  International publications routinely carry ads for goods or 
services that would be illegal to sell in the individual countries 
reached.  Sometimes a country like Singapore will censor a publication 
like the Asian Wall Street Journal.  Ridiculous since it can be read online.

Outlawing encryption is a form of censorship and censorship will prove 
increasingly difficult as time goes on.  If they can't keep crack 
cocaine out of Sing Sing, how can they keep PGP out of my computer (or 
computers under my control somewhere in the world). 

The enforcement problems are staggering.  What about sentencing.  What 
is the social damage involved in my sending my wife a 2.5K encrypted 
file.  Pretty petty offense.  Even if encryption was generally outlawed, 
anyone involved a privileged communication (spouses, attorney-client, 
physician-patient, priest-penitent, etc.) could continue to use the 
technology since assuring privacy is one of the technical requirements 
of exercising such a privilege.

Say, what if I as an attorney operate an anonymous remailer.  <G>  I 
know that privilege probably wouldn't attach because I wasn't a party to 
the communications but it would make for some entertaining litigation.  

No one has yet answered my legal question of several months ago.  If you 
have an unbroken coded message, how does the prosecutor prove beyond a 
reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that it is a coded message.  
Even if it has identifying headers and footers, that say "PGP 2.2" you 
can claim that you just put them on to random noise for fun in order to 
tweak the noses of the authorities.     

Duncan Frissell