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Re: Netscape gives in to key escrow

On Fri, 1 Dec 1995, Adam Shostack wrote:

> Brian Davis wrote:
> | On Thu, 30 Nov 1995, Adam Shostack wrote:
> | > 	One thing that stockholders do care about is liability.  Its
> | > my (non lawyerly) opinion that anyone implementing GAK without a
> | > government mandate to do so is opening themselves up to huge liability
> | > the Clipper database of keys gets out.
> | Well that would depend on the terms of the agreement to hold the escrowed 
> | keys, wouldn't it?   And presumably the GAK keyholder will have lawyers 
> | write the agreement so that it says, in essence, "we will try really 
> | really hard not to let the keys out, but if they get out, our only 
> | liability if to say 'Ooops' followed by a heartfelt apology!"
> 	I'm not sure thats true.  Allow me to argue by analogy.
> 	A car company, hearing the FBI's laments about cars being used
> as getaway vehicles after bank robberies, starts a program of putting
> explosives in all their cars, with radio detonators.  In an
> unfortunate accident, some of the explosives go off for no reason,
> injuring the owner of the car, etc, etc.  It seems to me that the car
> maker would be quite liable for doing something stupid (putting
> explosives in the engine block), even though they didn't cause the
> explosion.

I'm presuming that the consumer is aware of the key escrow.  It would 
indeed be foolhardy for Netscape to try to hide that, given the liability 
problem and the cypherpunks available to discover the "hidden" escrow.

I they tell you about it and you buy it anyway -- tough luck.

Same with the cars.  Would *you* buy Pinto with explosives in it???? 
(leaving aside the "inherently dangerous" argument for the moment on the 
products liability claim).


> Adam
> -- 
> "It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once."
> 					               -Hume

Not a lawyer on the Net, although I play one in real life.
Flame away! I get treated worse in person every day!!