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UK Encryption ban legislation {from: [comp.risks] RISKS DIGEST 18.95} (fwd)


FYI - hat moeglicherweise noch nicht jeder gelesen.


----- Forwarded message from Jeff Uphoff -----
Comments:     Originally-From: Jeff Uphoff <juphoff@tarsier.cv.nrao.edu>
From:         Jeff Uphoff <juphoff@TARSIER.CV.NRAO.EDU>
Subject:      UK Encryption ban legislation {from: [comp.risks] RISKS DIGEST

I think this is an issue of serious interest to many of the subscribers
of these lists; it would effectively ban a lot of security-related tools
that many of use now find indispensable, e.g. ssh, pgp.

------- Start of forwarded message -------
Date: 21 Mar 1997 10:11:57 GMT
From: rja14@cl.cam.ac.uk (Ross Anderson)
Subject: DTI proposals on key escrow

The British government's Department of Trade and Industry has sneaked out
proposals on licensing encryption services. Their effect will be to ban PGP
and much more besides.

I have put a copy on http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/users/rja14/dti.html as
their own web server appears to be conveniently down.

Licensing will be mandatory:

      We intend that it will be a criminal offence for a body to offer
      or provide licensable encryption services to the UK public without
      a valid licence

The scope of licensing is broad:

      Public will be defined to cover any natural or legal person in the UK.

      Encryption services is meant to encompass any service, whether provided
      free or not, which involves any or all of the following cryptographic
      functionality - key management, key recovery, key certification, key
      storage, message integrity (through the use of digital signatures) key
      generation, time stamping, or key revocation services (whether for
      integrity or confidentiality), which are offered in a manner which
      allows a client to determine a choice of cryptographic key or allows
      the client a choice of recipient/s.

Total official discretion is retained:

      The legislation will provide that bodies wishing to offer or provide
      encryption services to the public in the UK will be required to obtain
      a licence. The legislation will give the Secretary of State discretion
      to determine appropriate licence conditions.

The licence conditions imply that only large organisations will be able to
get licences: small organisations will have to use large ones to manage
their keys (this was the policy outlined last June by a DTI spokesman).  The
main licence condition is of course that keys must be escrowed, and
delivered on demand to a central repository within one hour. The mere
delivery of decrypted plaintext is not acceptable except perhaps from TTPs
overseas under international agreements.

The effect of all this appears to be:

1. PGP servers will be outlawed; it will be an offence for me to sign your
   pgp key, for you to sign mine, and for anybody to put my existing signed
   PGP key in a foreign (unlicensed) directory

2. Countries that won't escrow, such as Holland and Denmark, will be cut out
   of the Superhighway economy. You won't even be able to send signed
   medical records back and forth (let alone encrypted ones)

3. You can forget about building distributed secure systems, as even
   relatively primitive products such as Kerberos would need to have their
   keys managed by a licensed TTP. This is clearly impractical.  (The paper
   does say that purely intra-company key management is OK but licensing is
   required whenever there is any interaction with the outside world, which
   presumably catches mail, web and so on.)

There are let-outs for banks and Rupert Murdoch:

  Encryption services as an integral part of another service (such as in
  the scrambling of pay TV programmes or the authentication of credit
  cards) are also excluded from this legislation.

However, there are no let-outs for services providing only authenticity and
nonrepudiation (as opposed to confidentiality) services. This is a point
that has been raised repeatedly by doctors, lawyers and others - giving a
police officer the power to inspect my medical records might just
conceivably help him build a case against me, but giving him the power to
forge prescriptions and legal contracts appears a recipe for disaster. The
scope for fraud and corruption will be immense.

Yet the government continues to insist on control of, and access to, signing
keys as well as decryption keys. This shows that the real concern is not
really law enforcement at all, but national intelligence.

Finally, there's an opportunity to write in and protest:

  The Government invites comments on this paper until 30 May 1997

Though if the recent `consultation' about the recent `government.direct'
programme is anything to go by, negative comments will simply be ignored.

Meanwhile, GCHQ is pressing ahead with the implementation of an escrow
protocol (see http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~daw/GCHQ/casm.htm) that is broken
(see http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/ftp/users/rja14/euroclipper.ps.gz).

In Grey's words, ``All over Europe, the lights are going out''

------- End of forwarded message -------

----- End of forwarded message from Jeff Uphoff -----

USENET is *not* the non-clickable part of WWW!
Gert Doering - Munich, Germany                             gert@greenie.muc.de
fax: +49-89-3545980                         gert.doering@physik.tu-muenchen.de