1993-06-09 - InfoWorld

Header Data

From: fergp@sytex.com (Paul Ferguson)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 6f5144e6b04445029b8f97d87334d32a6c29826931cd170cf2c03f0bbed0de3b
Message ID: <XyXu5B1w165w@sytex.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-06-09 03:40:13 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 8 Jun 93 20:40:13 PDT

Raw message

From: fergp@sytex.com (Paul Ferguson)
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 93 20:40:13 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: InfoWorld
Message-ID: <XyXu5B1w165w@sytex.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

June 7, 1993
Volume 15, Issue 23
pages 1, 103
IS managers assail data encryption rule
'Clipper chip would allow snooping
by Scott  Mace
And Shawn Willett
GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- IS managers and computer vendors last week
blasted the Clinton administration's plans to mandate use of the
"Clipper" data encryption chip.
During hearings hosted by the U.S. Commerce Department here last
week and in interviews, many IS managers and vendors said they
fear the encryption standard could make their operations
vulnerable not only to snooping by the government, but by
criminals as well.
IS managers and consultants from Bankers Trust Co. of New York
and Deloitte &Touche voiced these concerns at the hearing and
chided the government for shrouding the process in secrecy.
"The secret process up until now has been destructive to public
trust," said William Murray, IS consultant at Deloitte & Touche,
in Wilton, Conn.
"It is only a matter of time before hackers figure out a back
door to de-crypt it," said Sheldon Laube, national director of
information and technology at Price Waterhouse, in Menlo Park,
Laube echoed the concerns of other corporate data managers.
"If the government can de-encrypt it, we have to assume
competitors can as well," said Bob Holmes, computer technology
research analyst at Southern California Gas, in Los Angeles.
The chip, which would be installed in data communications
devices, including computers, modems, fax machines, and phones,
encrypts data so outsiders cannot listen in or steal sensitive
data. But government agencies, such as the FBI, could ask for a
court order to obtain the "keys" to decode the data.
No one would be forced to implement the chip, but the
administration proposal could mandate government agencies to buy
it, effectively forcing its widespread adoption.
The Clipper chip, jointly developed by the National Security
Agency and the national Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) was also assailed by computer vendors.
Oliver Smoot, vice president of the Computer and Business
Equipment Manufacturers Association (CBEMA), testified that its
members would have to develop separate product lines for the
United States and overseas because a few foreign governments
would want to give the U.S. government the capability to decode
their data transmissions. This, along with the inclusion of the
chip in every computer, would mean higher prices, Smoot said.
CBEMA members include Apple Computer Inc., Compaq Computer Corp.,
IBM, and Hewlett-Packard Co.
The plan has also been hotly contested by computer industry civil
libertarians, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which
urged that the Constitution's prohibition of illegal search and
seizure be applied.
NIST and other government agencies countered that the chip is
very resistant to tampering. It uses a key escrow system, where
two or more government agencies will hold parts of a decryption
key, for use by law enforcement with a valid court order.
The FBI expects organized crime and terrorists to begin encoding

Paul Ferguson               |  The future is now.
Network Integrator          |  History will tell the tale;
Centreville, Virginia USA   |  We must endure and struggle
fergp@sytex.com             |  to shape it.
          Stop the Wiretap (Clipper/Capstone) Chip.