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NYT: House Panel Rejects FBI Plan on Encryption

Die Verfechter eines Kryptoverbot in den USA haben 
einen Rückschlag erlitten, aber der Kampf wird weitergehen, 
solange das Gesetzesprojekt zur Exportfreigabe im 
parlamentarischen Verfahren ist.


>Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 06:03:53 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Margarita Lacabe <marga@derechos.org>
>Subject: NYT: House Panel Rejects FBI Plan on Encryption
>To: Global Internet Liberty Campaign <gilc-plan@gilc.org>
>Reply-To: gilc-plan@gilc.org
>September 25, 1997
>House Panel Rejects FBI Plan on Encryption
>WASHINGTON The House Commerce Committee put the brakes on a
>fast-moving plan to put the first-ever domestic controls on data
>scrambling technology, rejecting 35 to 16 an Federal Bureau of
>Investigation-backed proposal to require all American computers users
>to register the codes to their encrypted software.
>The vote after nearly four hours of emotional debate on the balance
>between constitutional rights and the need for tools to fight
>terrorists, pedophiles and drug cartels was hailed as a victory by
>software and communications industry groups, civil libertarians,
>scientists and lawyers who have been scrambling over the past few
>weeks to reverse the FBI's momentum in gutting the Safety and
>Freedom Through Encryption act, known as SAFE.
>"Today's vote to preserve the intent of HR-695 [SAFE] is a huge
>victory for users of communication technology and reaffirms the
>Fourth Amendment's validity in the information age," said Robert
>Holleyman, president of the a Business Software Alliance.
>"Although our forefathers could not have envisioned the technological
>developments that we have witnessed, even in the last decade, they
>understood the critical, timeless need for privacy and security."
>Jerry Berman, executive director of the Center for Democracy and
>Technology, said the bill essentially puts the bill in gridlock, but
>"we have bought time to make a convincing case. ... It's uphill, but
>we're not being steamrolled about this anymore."
>Introduced by Representatives Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican,
>and Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, SAFE was intended to ease
>current export controls on strong encryption and prohibit and key
>recovery systems, like a voluntary one that had been proposed by the
>Clinton administration.
>But after an initial groundswell of support and after defeating law
>enforcement and the administration in the House Judiciary and
>International Relations Committees, the SAFE act lost ground to a
>full-court press by the FBI and the National Security Agency. In a
>series of classified briefings, President Clinton's top crime
>fighters convinced many House members that they must go even beyond
>the White House proposal. House members, after the briefings,
>repeatedly said that they believed the FBI plan was needed to protect
>the country from terrorists, drug cartels and child pornographers on
>the Internet.
>That theme was echoed repeatedly in Wednesday's Commerce Committee
>hearing by Representative Michael Oxley, an Ohio Republican, and
>Thomas Manton, a New York Democrat, who pushed the FBI-backed
>amendment, which would have required all software sold in the United
>States after 1999 have a spare key giving law enforcement "immediate
>"Law abiding citizens have no reason to fear this," Oxley said.
>Two other House committees, National Security and Intelligence,
>backed the administration with amendments that would have
>strengthened export controls and required that law enforcement be
>able to, with the proper judicial approval, gain immediate access to
>all domestic encryption keys.
>Though no specific infrastructure or system for keeping the keys was
>proposed, Edward A. Allen, section chief of the FBI's Engineering
>Research Facility, said on Wednesday that the system the FBI
>envisions would require that all individual computer users register
>their encryption keys with a third party, like a certificate
>authority. Large companies could keep their own keys, as long as they
>were readily accessible.
>Civil rights groups and law professors around the country assailed
>such a plan as a clear violation of both First Amendment free speech
>rights and the Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search
>and seizure.
>The bill as adopted by the Commerce Committee is essentially the
>sixth version of the bill. In an attempt to address law enforcement
>concerns, the panel adopted an amendment by Representatives Edward J.
>Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Rick White, a Washington
>Republican, that would establish a "NET Center" under the Department
>of Justice in which industry and law enforcement scientists would
>work together to help law enforcement authorities break encrypted
>codes used in crimes.
>The amendment also would require a six-month study by the Department
>of Commerce's National Telecommunications Information Agency on the
>ramifications of mandatory key recovery and would double the criminal
>penalties for anyone who uses encryption to commit a felony.
>Another amendment, by Representative W.J. Tauzin, a Louisiana
>Republican, would require that a five-member panel of government,
>industry and law enforcement be appointed to study the controversial
>encryption issues issue and make recommendations to Congress within
>180 days after enactment of SAFE.
>"This gives us a lot of new momentum," Goodlatte said of the changes
>to the bill, which still has to go through the House Rules Committee
>to get to a floor vote.
>If the Rules Committee agrees to send the bill to the floor, it must
>first reconcile the various versions. And the Rules Committee
>chairman, Gerald H. Solomon, a New York Republican, in a letter to
>the Commerce Committee this week said he the bill would not move to
>the House floor without the Oxley amendment.
>"I think it makes it clear that we have the opportunity now to go to
>the floor, to go to the Rules Committee and point out that this is a
>serious issue not only from the standpoint of the business, but as
>many of the members in there noted, having strong encryption helps to
>fight crime and we want the good guys to have it, if the bad guys are
>already going to have it through other means," Goodlatte said.
>"Getting encryption in the hands of businesses and individuals in
>this country not only protects their privacy but also prevents crime
>of credit card theft, medical record theft ... keeps terrorists from
>breaking into the New York Stock Exchange."
>Markey said he is convinced that continued debate will only help the
>SAFE bill.
>"I could feel members swinging over towards the position that would
>offer Americans more privacy protections," he said. "And I think
>that is going to happen in every single public debate that is held on
>the issue. As a result we now have reached a new stage where the
>closed-door political strategizing has to be replaced by a public
>and honest discussion." 
>Margarita Lacabe - Derechos - marga@derechos.org - http://www.derechos.org
>"From pardon power unrestricted, comes impunity to delinquency in all shapes:
>from impunity to delinquency in all shapes, impunity to malefience in all
>    from impunity to malefience in all shapes, dissolution of government:
>  from disolution of government, dissolution of political society".  Bentham