1994-06-27 - More of one man’s opinion

Header Data

From: Michael Wilson <0005514706@mcimail.com>
To: Cypherpunks <cypherpunks@toad.com>
Message Hash: b36b9fba559439eef6cd00b89524923c40c04b1d517d3b8a7e9f743379806bc0
Message ID: <61940627033916/0005514706NA3EM@mcimail.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1994-06-27 03:48:49 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 26 Jun 94 20:48:49 PDT

Raw message

From: Michael Wilson <0005514706@mcimail.com>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 94 20:48:49 PDT
To: Cypherpunks <cypherpunks@toad.com>
Subject: More of one man's opinion
Message-ID: <61940627033916/0005514706NA3EM@mcimail.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Hello again Cypherpunks...

A fast follow up to the previous note I dropped at the list...  I was asked by a
group of businessmen to explain, following up my previous message, why the 
government was restricting exports on crypto gear/software/knowledge when 
everything else in the inventory was being shoved out the door, as well as why 
the media wasn't getting into the picture.  My answers:

If the domestic market dries up for a product [alternative cryptographic 
solutions besides Clipper], then traditionally a provider will look to export 
his products to available markets overseas.  With the requirement of a munitions
license to deal in these products, few software or hardware houses are going to 
attempt to get approval and deal with the problems of selling the product 
overseas.  It fits into the strategy of market denial--create apathy at home so 
people can't support the advances there, and prevent them from making money 
overseas.  Consider it 'follow the money'' in reverse--watch what happens when 
there is no money to be made in an area.  Classic 'die-back.'

As for media coverage on the issue, look at what we are talking about.  Can you 
explain it in 4th grade language?  Can you put the issues on a 3x5 card?  Where 
is the 'sizzle,' as they say in the news biz?  A new product release of PGP?  So
what.  Barlow or other EFF members write an article or speak?  So what.  Phil 
makes a comment?  So what.  Where is the blood, the arrests, the kicking in of 
doors, the things that make for news?  Nada.  To sustain interest, you have to 
have 'developments,' witness the Simpson fiasco.  Why does that so dominate the 
attention of the media and the public?  Because the lid gets peeled back and 
people get to hear more dirt every day.  Just try to peel back the lid at NSA, I
dare you.

What is the solution?  There isn't one.  There was all sorts of noise when it 
first became an issue.  That noise was in fact detrimental to the cause.  Now a 
news organization will say "we covered that already, so what's new...  nothing? 
drop it."  The only thing that can be done is by the continuing effort to 
discover 'developments' and make those known.  Find the holes.  Tell people.  
Keep the situation buzzing.  Right now, there is a lot of 'preaching to the 
choir' going on; lots of high-fives and back-slapping, and when it all is said 
and done, the government still gets its way.  Push on the issue and expand it; 
demonstrate how strong crypto can be used for secure operating systems and viral
protection (don't look for viral signatures, MAC executables and look for 
changes).  Is Clipper the choice of the National Information Infrastructure?  If
it is, kiss any effort at ANY other form of crypto good-bye.  Develop alternates
that are more appealing to the market for NII.  Push stories of how 
international industrial espionage is attacking American business, and how 
strong crypto is needed for commercial enterprise (site the French attacks on 
companies such as IBM, where the DST [French intel] was the perpetrator, and 
they could break Clipper).  Cypherpunks write code, but they also need to wage 
political war against the enemy.

Michael Wilson
Managing Director, The Nemesis Group

[A special note to the government 'stoolie'; tell the boys back at McLean and 
Meade that their purchases through the Maryland Procurement Office are in public
databases, and are quite revealing!  Tag, you're it!]