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Another Civil Liberty Group

Date	9/23/94
Subject	Another Civil Liberty Group
From	Dave Banisar
To	Cypherpunks List

  Another Civil Liberty Group Opposes Wiretap Bill

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today wrote to Rep. 
Jack Brooks, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, "to 
express the ACLU's opposition to the FBI Wiretap Access Bill, 
H.R. 4922."  The organization's position is the latest indication 
that the legislation is running into serious trouble in Congress 
for several reasons, including strong opposition from civil 
liberties and privacy advocates.  The bill's proponents had 
initially hoped to bring it to a vote on the floors of the House 
and Senate by mid-September.  Instead, the bill remains in 
committees of both houses and is the object of a grassroots 
campaign to prevent its enactment.

Excerpts from the ACLU letter:

"The principal problem remains that any digital telephone bill 
which mandates that communications providers make technological 
changes for the sole purpose of making their systems wiretap-
ready creates a dangerous and unprecedented presumption that 
government not only has the power, subject to warrant to 
intercept private communications, but that it can require private 
parties to create special access.  It is as if the government had 
required all builders to construct new housing with an internal 
surveillance camera for government use. ...

"Moreover, the FBI has not borne the burden of proving why such 
an extraordinary requirement is necessary. ...

"H.R. 4922 proposes a radical and expensive change in our 
telecommunications structure.  The threats it poses, now and 
prospectively, are real, but the need for it is far less than 
evident or proven.  We urge that your Committee not rush into 
consideration of this far reaching measure with so little time 
left in the session."

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is urging all 
concerned individuals and organizations to contact the following 
members of Congress immediately:

Rep. Jack Brooks                   Sen. Howard Metzenbaum
(202) 225-6565 (voice)             (202) 224-7494 (voice)	
(202) 225-1584 (fax)               (202) 224-5474 (fax)

For more information about the FBI Wiretap Bill, check the Voters 
Telecomm Watch (VTW) gopher site (gopher.panix.com) or send e-
mail to <[email protected]>.