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Re: TIS, SKE, & CyberCash Inc.

Michael Pierson wrote:

> TIS's proposal is even more noteworthy considering their affiliation
> with the CyberCash Inc. venture written about in the 09/13/94 WSJ
> article posted here several days ago (ie. $whois cybercash.com = TIS).
> So, one of the leading proposals for SKE comes from a company
> involved with one of the leading digicash ventures.  It looks like
> TIS is a company to watch.

I agree that this is a crucial development to watch. Two related (I
think) developments:

- Al Gore writes a guest editorial in the latest "Discover" magazine.
His theme: an expansion of the "National Information Infrastructure"
he calls the "Global Information Infrastructure." The New World Order
in cyberspace. Wanna bet that this GII will have passports,
authorization slips, tax collection capabilities, and is-a-person

- The latest "Internet World" (Oct. '94, p. 11) confirms that
Microsoft is building Internet connectivity into upcoming releases of
Windows and Windows NT. Given their known involvement in SKE/GAK
(confirmed to me in e-mail, and reported here on this list a few
months back), this "Microsoft said it will build in suppport for those
protocols in the next versions of Windows and Windows NT" statement
bears close watching.

(The scenario I think is likely: SKE is put in at the OS level,
perhaps with these SLIP/PPP/TCP-IP protocols. Ostensibly "voluntary,"
it actually won't be, because selection of "escrow agents" will be
from a list of approved entities. A *truly* voluntary system would
allow complete bypassing, or selection of a "bit bucket" as the escrow
agent. Fat chance.)

(TIS statemen on SKE elided.)

> Well, hell will freeze over before it is accepted by this citizen.
> Those who have seen how RICO and the Forfeiture Law have run
> amok in this country have no reason to feel sanguine about the
> potential future abuses of key escrow.  I don't expect the statutory
> limitations on its misuse to be any more reliable than the search
> and seizure limitations or due process requirements of the Forth and
> Fifth Amendments which have been vitiated over the past decade or so.
> And the prospect that the surveillance state infrastructure which the
> Friends of Big Brother (FOBBs) are trying to put into place today
> will be available for potentially more tyrannical leaders that may 
> appear in the future, even more inimical to liberty, privacy and 
> personal sovereignty than the current ones, is not a comforting thought.

Agreed. We need to watch carefully this one.

A "voluntary" software key escrow system is of course OK (useful for
people afraid of forgetting their keys, for companies that don't want
the death of employees to cut them off from corporate secrets, etc.).
But any system in which the escrow key holders are *not* freely
selectable from a list one generates one's self (where the agents may
be the company lawyer, one's mother, one's priest, the bit bucket, the
machine down the hall, or nothing at all, etc.) is *not voluntary*.

The recent conference on international use of crypto, noted by other
recenly and by several of us back in July, had an ominous agenda. Did
any of you attend?

I get the feeling that wheels are turning, that deals are being cut.

And given the EFF's recent sell-out on Digital Telephony (which is of
course related to this, especially since the OS makers like Microsoft
and Apple are negotiating deals with the cable-telco companies, thus
presumably making the OS makers partners in the "wiretapping"
requirements), I would not be surprised to see similar deals being
arranged behind the scenes.

Much as I fear direct democracy, I also fear this kind of
smoke-filled room trading away of our liberties.

Wiretap bills, Software Key Escrow, Government Access to Keys,
information superhighways, Data Cops...it's all getting pretty

--Tim May

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
[email protected]       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^859433 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
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