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[FYI] (Fwd) FBI & Email trapdoors
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- Subject: [FYI] (Fwd) FBI & Email trapdoors
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- Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2000 16:31:05 +0100
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Date sent: Sat, 29 Apr 2000 08:35:18 -0400
Send reply to: Law & Policy of Computer Communications
From: Matthew Gaylor <freematt@COIL.COM>
Subject: FBI & Email trapdoors
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 20:34:09 -0400
To: Matthew Gaylor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Jim Bovard <email@example.com>
Subject: FBI & Email trapdoors
FYI - here's the source material on the FBI's machinations seeking a
trapdoor for email surveillance.
Declan's FBI sources apparently have a different view of how all this
I was aware that controversy over Echelon has been simmering off and
on - but the story broke in a big way starting last August. I shall
change a word or two in the text for the book.
Barr Slams Electronic "Trapdoor" Surveillance Plan
Source: Newsbytes News Network
Published: 10/25/99 Author: David McGuire
Posted on 10/25/1999 17:09:59 PDT by Gumption
WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A., 1999 OCT 25 (NB)
-- Conservative firebrand Rep. Bob Barr, R- Ga., weighed in on the
e-privacy debate today, urging the international Internet Engineering
Task Force (IETF) to resist overtures by law enforcers to create a
"surveillance-friendly" architecture for Internet telephony. Citing
the controversial Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act
(CALEA) some law enforcers have urged that "trapdoors" be built into
Internet communications programs. "If you encourage such steps,
several things will happen," Barr wrote in a letter to IETF leader
Fred Baker. "First, network and software creators will begin building
flaws into products in order to create back doors for law enforcement.
In the process, the security that serves as a prerequisite and
incentive for electronic commerce and communication will be
"Secondly, an initial demand for limited access to Internet telephone
calls will soon expand into an ever-increasing demand for access to
all voice communications, followed by a demand for access to e-mail
and data traffic," Barr wrote. The IETF is a not-for-profit,
non-governmental standards-setting body that develops many of the
operational protocols that allow the Internet to function. Today's
letter represents the second time this month that the largely
nonpolitical IETF has come under scrutiny from privacy advocates.
Earlier this month, some privacy advocates warned that the newest
Internet Protocol (IP) addressing system, IPv6, could jeopardize the
privacy of Internet users. IPv6 was developed by the IETF in response
to concerns that the previous IP, IPv4, was running out of room to
accommodate all of the individuals and networks that needed IP
numbers. In developing IPv6, engineers opted to include a
computer-specific identification number in each IP address, creating
concern among electronic privacy proponents that the new IP system
will erode the anonymity of Internet users. Reported by Newsbytes.com,
Copyright 1999 The Washington Post
The Washington Post
<=1> View Related Topics
November 10, 1999, Wednesday, Final Edition
SECTION: FINANCIAL; Pg. E03
LENGTH: 764 words
HEADLINE: A Wiretap-Friendly Net?; Group Weighs Aid to Law Enforcement
BYLINE: John Schwartz, Washington Post Staff Writer
The programmers and engineers who design and maintain the Internet
heading for a showdown with the FBI over whether the global computer
network should be made wiretap-friendly.
The issue comes up tonight in meeting of the Internet Engineering
Force(IETF) in Washington. The group has been debating just how far it
should go to
The Washington Post, November 10, 1999
help law enforcement officials conduct wiretaps--especially now that
some telephone traffic is moving onto the Internet.
Internet leaders have urged the task force to avoid taking action
might make it easier to eavesdrop on the Internet. An open letter
signed by officials of such high-tech companies as Sun Microsystems
Inc. and PSINet Inc., as well as by privacy advocates, cryptography
experts and legal scholars, urged the group not to build wiretapping
capabilities into the network: "We believe that such a development
would harm network security, result in more illegal activities,
diminish users' privacy, stifle innovation, and impose significant
costs on developers of communications," they wrote.
"It is not a good decision for the future of the Internet," said
Hill,founder of Internet privacy company Zero-Knowledge Systems and
author of the anti-wiretap letter.
Also weighing in was Rep. Robert L. Barr Jr. (R-Ga.), who wrote a
the task force's chairman, Fred Baker, calling on the group to turn
away any effort to allow wiretapping "for the sake of protecting
freedom, commerce, and privacy on the Internet."
Standing up to the FBI does not mean that the groups are "anti-law
enforcement," Barr said yesterday. "I don't think the FBI should be
able to dictate their technology simply because the FBI wants to make
it easier to tap into the Net," he said.
A working group within the task force kicked off the debate last
with an e-mail discussion of what features might be necessary to make
the Internet comply with wiretap laws. Baker said the impetus for the
discussion came not from the FBI but from the companies that make
equipment used in telephone networks; those companies fretted that
their products would have to comply with federal wiretap laws for
telecommunications companies to buy them.
The debate has raged since then, with participants espousing views
across the political spectrum. Some take a view that governments are
inherently corrupt and wiretapping is evil; others have suggested that
compliance with government demands for legal wiretap capabilities is
inevitable, and that smooth functioning of the Internet will be best
served by designing those capabilities in now instead of having them
imposed by force at a later date.
The task force's job is "to minimize harm to the Net as people
requirements or work out their destinies on it," said Stewart Baker, a
former general counsel for the National Security Agency whose clients
communications and Internet companies grappling with wiretap issues.
nothing will come of it, and I think that's probably the right result
at this stage."
In fact, the group is likely to vote tonight against building in
wiretapping capabilities, said one member of the task force, Scott O.
Bradner of Harvard University. "The consensus on the mailing list has
certainly been against the IETF participating in any special
features," he said.
That action will almost certainly set the group on a collision
law enforcement. The federal law that requires makers of high-tech
telephone networks to design in wiretap capabilities--a law known as
CALEA--specifically excluded the Internet. It was "one of the central
compromises of CALEA," said James X. Dempsey of the Center for
Democracy and Technology, who helped negotiate the law.
But FBI spokesman Barry Smith said that exception was written into
after Internet service providers promised to provide such capability,
and said that pre-CALEA wiretap provisions of Title 18 of the U.S.
Code require the companies to comply with legal wiretap requests.
Smith said those setting the standards should understand that
wiretap laws do in fact require them to design in wiretap
capabilities. "We have every
confidence that the technical-standards-setting bodies will fulfill
that statutory requirement," Smith said.
Baker said that the United States is not the only government that
Internet to be wiretap-friendly. "There's similar legislation driving
this in other countries--and a lot more invasive than CALEA . . .
whatever we do has to stand on a global stage," he said.
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH <snip>
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