1997-09-09 - Re: House National Security committee guts SAFE, worse than nobill

Header Data

From: Jonah Seiger <jseiger@cdt.org>
To: Declan McCullagh <gnu@toad.com>
Message Hash: 647fe7400608a3f90f672eaac9e21ef25b911c0fc88a0d06698b87edbdd84b6b
Message ID: <v03102805b03b80c230ed@[]>
Reply To: <199709092105.OAA02484@toad.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-09-09 23:56:16 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 07:56:16 +0800

Raw message

From: Jonah Seiger <jseiger@cdt.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 07:56:16 +0800
To: Declan McCullagh <gnu@toad.com>
Subject: Re: House National Security committee guts SAFE, worse than nobill
In-Reply-To: <199709092105.OAA02484@toad.com>
Message-ID: <v03102805b03b80c230ed@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 2:17 PM -0700 9/9/97, Declan McCullagh wrote:

>This version of SAFE, in fact, is //much worse// for crypto freedom than
>having no bill passed at all.



>It's time for advocates of crypto-freedom to turn obstructionist and
>oppose all legislation dealing with encryption.

And expect to accomplish what?

To stick our heads in the sand now would just make it easier for the FBI to
roll right over us.  We still need to fight the expected FBI key recovey
amendment when the Intelligence Committee and Commerce Committee vote this
week, and then onto the floor (perhaps next year).  Not to mention the

This battle is FAR from over. It would be a serous mistake to give up now.



PS: Interestingly, Reuters is reporting that the Administraon has "serious
problems" with the Dellums/Weldon Amendment:

Clinton official not backing new encryption plan

    WASHINGTON, Sept 9 (Reuter) - The Clinton administration has serious
problems with a new congressional proposal to tighten export limits on
computer encoding technology even though it prefers the approach to one
contained in earlier legislation, a top official said on Tuesday.
   Under Secretary of Commerce William Reinsch told Reuters that an
amendment approved by the House National Security Committee earlier on
Tuesday would give the secretary of defense veto power over encryption
export decisions.
   "Giving the secretary of defense a veto is inconsistent with the
president's executive order and inconsistent with the policies of four
prior administrations," Reinsch said. "The administration thinks all
relevent agencies should have a seat at the table and none should have a
   Under current policy, enacted by presidential order last year,
encryption export requests are reviewed by the Departments of State,
Defense, Energy, Commerce and Justice, along with the Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency.
   The most powerful encryption products cannot be exported unless they
contain a feature allowing the government to decode any messages covertly.
   The amendment, authored by Rep. Curt Weldon, Republican of Pennsylvania,
 and Rep. Ron Dellums, Democrat of California, would require the president
to set "the maximum level of encryption strength that could be exported
from the United States ... without harm to the national security of the
United States."
   Products at or below the established level could be exported after a
one-time review specified by the secretary of commerce with the concurrence
 of the secretary of defense.
   The proposal virtually gutted the bill to which it was attached. The
original bill, written by Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, would
greatly relax export controls.
   Reinsch said the administration supported the "harm to the national
security" standard. "It gives the administration the authority it needs,"
he said. "We'd much rather have this than (the original)."
   Software companies, civil libertarians and Internet user groups all
favor relaxing the current limits and expressed strong concerns about the
Weldon amendment.
   The amendment appeared to outlaw differential treatment currently
accorded to some encryption products used by financial institutions or
subsidiaries of U.S. companies.
   Reinsch said that section of the amendment "could be more artfully
   He also criticized the proposal for not requiring companies to export
products with features allowing for government access to coded messages, an
 approach known as key recovery.
   The current policy "links all of the parts together and uses export
controls as a device to move towards key recovery," he said. "We believe
export controls should include key recovery."
   --Aaron Pressman((202-898-8312))
Tuesday, 9 September 1997 18:02:46
RTRS [nN0972124]

  * Value Your Privacy? The Government Doesn't.  Say 'No' to Key Escrow! *
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Jonah Seiger, Communications Director                  (v) +1.202.637.9800
Center for Democracy and Technology                 pager: +1.202.859.2151

http://www.cdt.org                                      PGP Key via finger