1994-02-05 - Crypto Regulation Reform

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From: rcain@netcom.com (Robert Cain)
Message Hash: 5c3d0690e1e4fc8c604a40933fd8be07b0555c6b6856b44294b92b340b858a34
Message ID: <199402051934.LAA08528@mail.netcom.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1994-02-05 19:35:40 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 5 Feb 94 11:35:40 PST

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From: rcain@netcom.com (Robert Cain)
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 94 11:35:40 PST
Subject: Crypto Regulation Reform
Message-ID: <199402051934.LAA08528@mail.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Mr. President,

I am watching with great interest the activity with regard to cyrpto
regulation and have an observation I would like to share.  The
following was excerpted from the Harris statement:

> The President has determined that vital U.S. national security and 
> law enforcement interests compel maintaining appropriate control 
> of encryption. Still, there is much that can be done to reform 
> existing controls to ensure that they are efficiently implemented 
> and to maintain U.S. leadership in the world market for encryption 
> technology. Accordingly, the President has asked the Secretary of 
> State to take immediate action to implement a number of procedural 
> reforms. The reforms are:

While I totally understand the concern here and am in sympathy with the
reasoning, assuming benign adherence to the procedures, I think you are
in effect jousting windmills with this attempt to control or regulate
crypto.  It is simply too easy to build and distribute inexpensive
devices that are *truly secure*, without back doors to make it other
than delusional to think that the people that we would not want to have
this technology won't.  A device can be made right now at lower cost
than a computer modem, much lower, that could be inserted between any
phone and the wall that would make it impossible, no matter what laws
are in place, to tap either passively or acitively, communication that
passes between two of these devices.  I know how to do it, could do it
and probably will just for the fun of it at least.  If I can there are
many others that can also.  In fact I personally know several.  These
devices can be credit card size and even fit in a wallet.  They can
easily be smuggled in and will be.  A black market will flourish and
nothing will have been accomplished except the expenditure of a lot of
futile money and creation of more crime in an inflated, lucrative

We simply must accept that point-to-point secure communication is a
part of our electronic environment and swallow the bitter pill that no
matter what the valid arguments are for regulation, it is effectively
not possible, so that national security and law enforcement are going
to be denied, in the near future, a tool in their arsenel and will have
to come up with new ways of gathering this intelligence.

Please abandon this effort before we throw good money after bad and
create a worse situation than we will have without it.

I would like whoever processes this email to forward a copy to the
following contact.

> The contact point for further information on these reforms is Rose 
> Biancaniello, Office of Defense Trade Controls, Bureau of 
> Political-Military Affairs, Department of State, (703) 875-6644.


Bob Cain

Bob Cain    rcain@netcom.com   408-354-8021