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RE: USA Today Against ITAR & GAK

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From:  Cypherpunks Mailing List[SMTP:[email protected]]
Sent:  Tuesday, October 24, 1995 4:51 PM
To:  Cypherpunks Mailing List
Subject:  USA Today Against ITAR & GAK

I'm pleased to report that USA Today editorializes today (Tuesday, Oct.   
1995) against both ITAR and GAK.

They get the chronology of the SSL brute-forcing and PRNG seed prediction
attacks on Netscape Navigator backwards, but they get many other things   
in a fairly short editorial. I am certainly encouraged by this   
Someone at USA Today definitely got the message that the ITAR are a large
obstacle to net security in the U.S.

Some particularly apropos quotations (from pg. 12A):

 "[After the Netscape hacks] the perception of the Internet as
  insecure was indelible. That needn't be. Encryption software
  available right now is exponentially more powerful and could
  make code breaking virtually impossible. Its use is blocked
  by government export regulations that make the programs
  difficult if not impossible to market, even for domestic

 "[...] key escrow [...] may sound reasonable, but apply that
  reasoning to more mundane areas of life. What the government
  is saying is yes, you can put bars on your windows, locks on
  your doors and put your jewelry in a safe, but you have to
  give us the keys and the combination because you might be a

That phrasing sounds rather familiar....

 "The [GAK] system -- which the FBI and the Commerce Department
  declined to defend in an opposing view to this editorial [...]"

Now I find that surprising. Since when does the FBI not even try to   
Clipper and its descendants in the newspapers ?

For foreign readers, I'll note that USA Today has easily the largest
national circulation of any daily newspaper in the U.S.

[Letters to the editor can be emailed to [email protected]; they want   
 to give your snail-mail address and home and work phone numbers so they
 can check your identity.]

 -Futplex <[email protected]>