1997-05-02 - Re: FC: Responses to Tim May’s criticism of SAFE, and a rebuttal

Header Data

From: Ernest Hua <hua@chromatic.com>
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@vorlon.mit.edu>
Message Hash: fe19914261ba87cdaabef3aa72ab7eb71b2f160c4e7a5332c600fed56bd8af76
Message ID: <199705021910.MAA07300@server1.chromatic.com>
Reply To: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970502084319.13849A-100000@vorlon.mit.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-02 20:28:45 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 04:28:45 +0800

Raw message

From: Ernest Hua <hua@chromatic.com>
Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 04:28:45 +0800
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@vorlon.mit.edu>
Subject: Re: FC: Responses to Tim May's criticism of SAFE, and a rebuttal
In-Reply-To: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970502084319.13849A-100000@vorlon.mit.edu>
Message-ID: <199705021910.MAA07300@server1.chromatic.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

> From: Charles Platt <cp@panix.com>
> > From: Jonah Seiger <jseiger@cdt.org>
> >
> > However, despite our concerns about the criminal provisions, we believe
> > strongly that the SAFE bill, and the bills in the Senate sponsored by Burns
> > and Leahy, are vitally important and should be passed.
> This kind of "pragmatism" is precisely why I have no faith whatsoever in
> CDT. There's a slippery slope, here, that really IS a slippery slope. As
> soon as you agree with the principle that the legislators can and SHOULD
> pass laws in a certain area, you risk losing large chunks of freedom.

Ok, I think I can agree with your principles, if they are stand-alone.
However, I believe the issue here is not whether your (and Tim's)
principles are correct; instead, the issue here is of time and what
time we have left.  I must point out the following:

    The NSA/FBI is NOT standing still while we are all bickering about
    precisely which dotted-i and crossed-t to support.  They can, at
    the stroke of Clinton's executive order pen, initiate effectively
    THEIR law, while we must gather forces and summon Congress to jump
    through enough hoops to pass effective legislation.

In short, they can get what they want instantly, while we cannot
except through a long and arduous process (during which they can throw
many procedural and lobbying obstacles to slow us down).  The process
is clearly in THEIR favor (and not without good reason), and we must
face that fact.

In an ideal world, when we can stop time for as long as we want to sit
around a table and discuss just what is good and bad legislation, we
can afford to be pure on principle.  However, time is running out
because the longer we wait for ANY legislation to pass, the more
nations the NSA will coerce behind closed doors (and remember, you
have ZERO real ability to affect these slimy maneuvers) in the name of
national security.

It takes just one Om Shinri Kyo (sp?) in any nation to convince its
leaders to pass knee-jerk panic legislation in the name of security,
and it's the fault of politics at the beck and call of human nature
(not just stupid politicians).

> Conversely, so long as the area remains sacrosanct, free of legislation
> (e.g. the content of private mail), the situation remains clear and clean.

NO!  This is totally contrary to the facts!

And I don't understand why you did not respond to this point when I
brought it up earlier.  This area is MOST CERTAINLY NOT free of
legislation.  Have you tried to openly export a IDEA- or 3DES-based
non-key-recovery (real commercial) product lately?  Have you set up an
open, publically announced FTP site where anyone can freely fetch
strong encryption sources?  If not, then explain why, if there is no
legislation on this matter, couldn't you do it?

Just because there isn't an explicit bill somewhere that, in no
uncertain terms, clearly grants or denies a right to Americans, does
not mean that no government agency have any real effective claim on
control of the matter.  Why else would we be having this discussion?


Ernest Hua, Software Sanitation Engineer/Chief Cut And Paste Officer
Chromatic Research, 615 Tasman Drive, Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1707
Phone: 408 752-9375, Fax: 408 752-9301, E-Mail: hua@chromatic.com