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The Great Clipper Debate 5/9/94
The Great Clipper Debate:
National Security or National Surveillance?
Sponsored by: The Georgetown University Law Center Space Law Group
and Communications Law Forum
In Coordination with: The George Washington University Institute for
Computer and Telecommunications Systems Policy, the Association for
Computing Machinery Special Interest Group for Computers and Society, and
the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section.
Date and Time: May 9, 1994, at 7:30 p.m.
Place: The Georgetown University Law Center(Moot Court Room)
600 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.
The Administration, through the Department of Justice and the
National Security Agency, has proposed a standard encryption algorithm
for both the public and commercial marketplace, with the goal of making
this algorithm the method of choice for persons wishing to encode their
telephone and other voice and data communications. The FBI and the NSA
are concerned that the increasing availability, and affordability, of
encryption mechanisms will make it difficult and in some cases impossible
for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to tap into and to
understand the communications of criminals and other pertinent groups.
This proposal has become known as the "Clipper Chip," in that it would
be implemented by the voluntary insertion of a computer chip into
telephone, fax machine, and other communications systems.
The Clipper Chip has generated considerable controversy. Opposing
it are various civil libertarian groups, as well as telecommunications
companies, software and hardware manufacturers, and trade associations.
The debate has raged behind closed doors, and openly in the press.
On Monday, May 9, at the Georgetown University Law School, a round
table debate will take place on this controversy. The participants
represent both sides of the issue, and are illustrative of the various
groups which have taken a stand. The participants are:
Dorothy Denning, Chairperson of the Computer Science Department
of Georgetown University
Michael Godwin, Legal Counsel of the Electronic Frontier
Geoffrey Greiveldinger, Special Counsel to the Narcotic and
Dangerous Drug Section of the U.S. Department of Justice;
Michael Nelson, of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
of the White House;
Marc Rotenberg, Director of the Electronic Privacy Information
Stephen Walker, President of Trusted Information Systems, Inc.,
and a former cryptographer with the National Security Agency
In addition, there will be two moderators: Dr. Lance
Hoffman, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at The
George Washington University, and Andrew Grosso, a former federal
prosecutor who is now an attorney in private practice in the District of
The program will last approximately two and one half hours, and will
be divided into two parts. The first half will offer the panel the
opportunity to respond to questions which have been submitted to the
participants beforehand; the second will present the panel with questions
from the audience.
There is no charge for this program, and members of the public are
encouraged to attend. Reservations are requested in advance, and should
be directed to one of the following individuals:
- C. Dianne Martin, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical
Engineering and Computer Science, The George Washington University,
Phillips Hall, Room 624-C, Washington, D.C. 20052; telephone: (202)
994-8238; E mail: [email protected]
- Sherrill Klein, Staff Director, ABA Criminal Justice Section,1800
M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone: (202) 331-2624;
fax: (202) 331-2220
- Francis L. Young, Young & Jatlow, 2300 N Street, N.W., Suite 600,
Washington, D.C. 20037; telephone: (202) 663-9080; fax: (202)
Questions for the panelists should be submitted, in writing, to one
of the moderators:
- Lance Hoffman, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and
Computer Science, The George Washington University, Washington,
D.C. 20052; fax: (202) 994-0227; E mail: [email protected]
- Andrew Grosso, 2300 N Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C.,
20037; fax: (202) 663-9042; E mail: [email protected]