[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: "Dear Newt" Letter...

*** FLAME ON ***

Quoted in complete context for your protection:
> --- begin forwarded text
> Date: 20 Nov 1995 11:21:01 -0800
> Subject: please fwd to cpunks if you
> To: "Bob Hettinga" <[email protected]>
>      The Ad Hoc Taxpayer Coalition for Computer Privacy
>                      November 8, 1995
> The Honorable Newt Gingrich
> Speaker of the House of Representatives
> H-232 The Capitol
> Washington, DC 20515-6502
> Dear Mr. Speaker:
>  We are writing to express serious concerns about the
> Administration's efforts to continue to restrict the ability
> of computer users at home and abroad to protect their personal
> and private information over electronic networks through the
> use of encryption technology. The Administration seems
> determined to ensure government surveillance of all electronic
> information and communications. It began with President
> Clinton's "Clipper Chip," but has not stopped.

Whoa!  Clinton didn't start the Clipper initiative.  Try Ragan/Bush!

Administration's efforts - hardly.  They inherited and mostly agreed

computer users at home and abroad - not according to what I've seen and
read - they want to stop export of good crypto, not internal use thereof.
It's the FBI that wants to read all your email and tap your phones.  The
administration is just going along as far as I can tell, and so is Newt.

>  Consumers aren't happy with these proposals, and neither is
> the business community nor civil libertarians. In fact, it's
> hard to find anyone supportive outside the Administration
> except for the few that would benefit from the
> Administration's "proposed relaxation" of the nation's export
> policy.

The vast majority of consumers don't care as far as I can tell.  Same
with most of the small business community (the vast majority of the
whole business community in the US).

>  The Administration refuses to let American computer hardware
> and software companies sell products with good encryption
> worldwide unless the U.S. Government is guaranteed access to a
> key that unlocks that information.

Dead flat wrong.  What is required is an export license, and they are

> The Administration is
> trying to leverage these companies' need to export -- they
> derive more than half their earnings from sales abroad -- and
> desire to develop a single product worldwide, to force them to
> include a feature in products they sell in the U.S. and abroad
> that will allow government access.

What's your basis for this conclusion? They have not said so as far as I
can tell. 

> Administration officials
> also have said that if American companies do not "voluntarily"
> include such a feature, then they will seek legislation making
> such a feature mandatory.

Which ones said exactly what?

>  The Administration's approach is the wrong policy for today's
> marketplace.

Finally something I agree on.

>  It's anti-consumer. Computer users will not entrust their
> sensitive information to computer networks unless its security
> and privacy are assured. Without good privacy protection,
> there simply will not be a Global Information Infrastructure
> -- and America won't be in the lead.

I don't think most consumers care at all unless and until it directly
affects them in a way they can see and understand the connection with. 
There already is a GII, America is in the lead in some areas, and the
privacy issue is not a very important one judging by the vast majority
of users who use it regardless of and in ignorance of privacy protection.

>  It's anti-marketplace. There is no consumer demand for
> encryption products that give the government easy access. The
> Administration has come forward with a typical big-government
> approach -- a government designed solution for a government
> problem. This completely overlooks the realities of a
> free-market.

There is almost no consumer demand for encryption.  The demand that
exists is primarily business and government, and the government side
seems to think Clipper is a good idea.

>  It is anti-American business. The Administration's current
> policies are seriously harming the continued competitiveness
> of one of our fastest growing and most successful industries
> -- the computer hardware and software industry. Computer users
> are demanding good encryption but American companies are not
> allowed to supply it. Yet there are hundreds of foreign
> encryption products manufactured and encryption programs are
> widely available on the Internet.

It's not as good for American business as it could be, but Clipper might
be very good for American businesses currently being attacked by foreign
interests.  These hundred of foreign encryption products may contain the
same sorts of holes you fear in US products.  Your proposal might be
even worse for the US. 

>  Finally, it is anti-progress. Wishing that there was no
> encryption available will not make it so. The technology is
> widely understood and available -- you can't put this genie
> basic in the bottle. Government policies should not encumber
> the American computing industry as it leads the world
> technology revolution.

History does not agree with you.  Progress has not histoprically been
generated by the availability of encryption.  It may be in the future,
but for now your claim seems unsupported to me.

>  We strongly urge you to oppose attempts to limit the ability
> of Americans to use whatever encryption they wish and to
> support the immediate relaxation of harmful export controls on
> American products and programs with encryption features.

I believe Newt is in favor of clipper and national defense and law
enforcement, all of which strongly support CLipper, wire tapping, etc. 

>      The Ad Hoc Taxpayer Coalition for Computer Privacy
> Americans for Tax Reform
> Association of Concerned Taxpayers
> Competitive Enterprise Institute
> Citizens for a Sound Economy
> The Business Leadership Council
> The Small Business Survival Committee
> Citizens Against a National Sales Tax/VAT
> Virginia Postrel, Editor, Reason magazine
> Sheldon Richman, Senior Editor, The Cato Institute
> Tanya Metaksa, Executive Director, Institute for Legislative
>  Action, National Rifle Association
> Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, The Polling Company
> Donna Matias, Institute for Justice
> =+=+=+=+
> This information is provided as a service of the National Rifle
> Association Institute for Legislative Action, Fairfax, VA.
> This and other information on the Second Amendment and the NRA is
> available at any of the following URL's: http://WWW.NRA.Org,
> gopher://GOPHER.NRA.Org, wais://WAIS.NRA.Org, ftp://FTP.NRA.Org,
> mailto:[email protected] (Send the word help as the body of a message)
> Information may also be obtained by connecting directly to the
> NRA-ILA GUN-TALK Bulletin Board System at (703) 934-2121.
> --- end forwarded text
> -----------------
> Robert Hettinga ([email protected])
> e$, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA (617) 958-3971
> "Reality is not optional." --Thomas Sowell
> The e$ Home Page: http://www.webstuff.apple.com/~vinnie/Rah
> >>>>Phree Phil: Email: [email protected]  http://www.netresponse.com/zldf <<<<<

If the NRA has all that cash, why don't they support a much better
letter to Newt that is well supported by facts and has enough punch to
really sway him?

-> See: Info-Sec Heaven at URL http://all.net/
Management Analytics - 216-686-0090 - PO Box 1480, Hudson, OH 44236