Re: US Congress already discussing bans on strong crypto

From: Darren Reed (avalon@cairo.anu.edu.au)
Date: 09/14/01


From: Darren Reed <avalon@cairo.anu.edu.au>
To: brett@lariat.org (Brett Glass)
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 16:30:16 +1000 (EST)

In some mail from Brett Glass, sie said:
> http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,46816,00.html
[...]
> For nearly a decade, privacy mavens have been worrying that a
> terrorist attack could prompt Congress to ban
> communications-scrambling products that frustrate both police wiretaps
> and U.S. intelligence agencies.

Translation:
For nearly a decade the various intelligence agencies in the USA have
been relying more and more upon using electronic means to gather their
data, phasing out the traditional use of humans (spies). They no longer
have the abilities they used to have and are getting desperate.

[...]
> Some politicians and defense hawks are warning that extremists such as
> Osama bin Laden, who U.S. officials say is a crypto-aficionado and the
> top suspect in Tuesday's attacks, enjoy unfettered access to
> privacy-protecting software and hardware that render their
> communications unintelligible to eavesdroppers.

Translation:
The CIA has so far failed to get an agent anywhere near bin Laden and
is therefore relying on SIGINT and other more passive means to work out
what bin Laden is planning/doing.

> In a floor speech on Thursday, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire)
> called for a global prohibition on encryption products without
> backdoors for government surveillance.

Ok, this is serious. Who's puppet is he? CIA's ? NSA's ? FBI's ?

It's no longer a "do not export" approach but putting strong encryption
products (no backdoors) on a "banned list".

> "This is something that we need international cooperation on and we
> need to have movement on in order to get the information that allows
> us to anticipate and prevent what occurred in New York and in
> Washington," Gregg said, according to a copy of his remarks that an
> aide provided.

Translation:
We don't want to have to spend any significant amount of money or resources
in our intelligence gathering activities. Where possible, we'd like to be
as lazy as we can.

> President Clinton appointed an ambassador-rank official, David Aaron,
> to try this approach, but eventually the administration abandoned the
> project.

Translation:
The rest of the world realised what was afoot and didn't want the USA to
be privy to their communications which were supposed to be secure.

I don't think I need to comment about the rest.

The only problem is that the cat is out of the bag in terms of the crypto
technology itself - heck, wasn't it always?

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