Sorry it has taken me so long to respond, I have been traveling, and
believe it or not, quite a few folks are interested in this topic.
At 6:52 PM 3/29/96, Adam Safier wrote:
>At 10:23 PM 3/27/96 -0700, Bill Thompson wrote:
>>it is not impossible for a US govenment agency to get an encryption key, it
>>is difficult, and they are not in the driver's seat. If they are motivated
>>to expend this kind of energy, my bet is that we might want them to
>>succeed, because they are probably protecting us.
>I doubt the CIA and other skunk works would really ask a judge, unless they
>had full control of him.....
>>Why not put a reasonable
>>set of rules in effect which put the process in the private sector's
>>control, and open under the judicial system?
The CIA, Justice Department, and any other agency headed by a cabinet
position secretary are part of the Executive branch, not the Judicial one.
The whole democratic idea of checks and balances revolves around the
separation of powers between autonomous branches of government, and in
Washington, the rival branches are always trying to prove their autonomy.
Certainly it is possible for a Judge to be in the pocket of the CIA or
other "skunk works", but it's illegal and it can't last forever, as zealous
members of all sides are always trying to advance their personal position.
>1 - I am not willing to PAY for it.
I hear you, and I am not willing to pay for a driver's license either. I
do it only because it is required, it does bring some semblance of order to
the highway system (maybe not as much in Texas as other parts of North
America), and the cost/benefit ratio of opposing it rather than getting one
just doesn't make any sense. I believe the same thing is true of the
notion of recoverable encryption keys. As users we need key recovery
(whether or not the government can also get access with due process), and
at a cost in the range of our driver's licenses, who can really complain
>2 - I don't believe the mafia, Iraq etc. could not get at the keys if they
>kept trying. Someone will leak them somewhere sometime.
True, as long as people are in the equation, there is the potential for
compromise. Operating a Data Recovery Center is not for the faint of
heart. You must have very stringent physical security standards, require
multiple concurrence for access, and diligently verify the continued
compliance of controlling personnel. While we all may sometimes express
the feeling the organized crime element can do as it pleases, I hope that
the mafia, Iraq, and other organized terrorist elements can be successfully
thwarted by the vigilent efforts of professionals, both within our
companies, and our governments
>3 - Why not simply make it a crime not to provide evidence (decrypted) when
>the judicial system demands it?
For the most part it already is. While there is some debate in other
countries as to the rights the government has to demand encryption keys,
within the US and Canada it is generally accepted that if a valid court
order exists and you withhold information lawfully required, you can be
incarcerated. The concern of law enforcement is that for some individuals,
jail is not a sufficient deterrent.
>4 - Crooks will still use encryption without key escrow.
Possibly, maybe even probably in well financed criminal organizations. But
all members of criminal organizations are not geniuses, and even those who
are will inevitably make mistakes. The evidence suggests that criminals
will use whatever is commonly available, abetted by the fact that law
enforcement usually doesn't have enough resource to cope with the volume of
crime they already have to deal with. Drug dealers routinely use cellular
phones, accessible to anyone with the proper radio equipment, and the World
Trade Center bombers asked for the return of a large deposit on the truck
they claimed was stolen, even though the FBI had already determined it had
been used in the bombing prior to the time they claimed it was stolen. In
my opinion, we need to achieve a proper balence between personal privacy
and allowing law enforcement the ability to properly persue the job we
asked them to do in the first place. By the way, this has been a raging
debate in this continent since the 1700's, and I personally hope it
continues in order to keep either extreme from becoming too complacent.
>5 - A key registration requirement stifles new development (assuming all
>encryption is outlawed unless registered with fed. - I'm coming in a bit
>late into this discussion so this may not be relevant to CKE only discussion.)
CKE doesn't require registration with the government. DRC's are run by
private sector organizations. Ideally, default certificates will be
provided with crypto gear by the crypto vendor. The user only needs to
register with a DRC if they want recovery, generally automatic if the DRC
is run by your employer.
>Expressed opinions are my own and might not be shared by my employer or
>SickPuppy deserves a pat.
Thanks for your interest. I understand your concerns, and I share them.
If I haven't sufficiently addressed these, or if you have others, please
get back to me. I firmly believe CKE is the best available answer to our
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