[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: Info on Netscape's key escrow position
> If we as a company were to take the position that in no case will we allow
> a government to get access to our encrypted messages, or refuse to allow
> key escrow with our products, the governments of the world will quickly put
> us out of business by outlawing the sale of our products in their countries.
> The fundamental issue is how do we accommodate the requirements of
> governments, while protecting our rights as citizens.
> None of this represents the position of Netscape with respect to what we
> will do. But if we do not come up with a solution to this problem that is
> acceptable to each government, we will not be able to export our products,
> except with a short key length (e.g. 40 bit keys), and that will not be
> acceptable to corporate customers in other countries. They will create their
> own solution, and we will not be able to sell to a larger world market. In
> fact, we could even be ordered by our own government to establish a key
> escrow system for its use inside the US.
I don't expect Netscape, as a corporate citizen, to engage in civil
disobedience. But I hope that Netscape will take seriously its obligation
to protect the rights of citizens.
Decisions that businesses make have big effects on the way day to day
life exists all over the world. GM makes decisions that affect how safe
transportation will be and how much it will cost. Microsoft makes
decisions that effect millions of people's work environments. Even small
businesses have small bits of power: I run a little ISP, and a few
hundred people depend on me to protect the privacy of their email.
The decison that Netscpae is faced with now is a big one. It's going to
have widespread and long lasting consequences for privacy and civil
liberties all over the world. When you look at what's going to happen on
the ground, it's probably as important as a major decision by the Supreme
We understand that government officials in this country and elsewhere are
putting pressure on Netscape. But you should understand that the public
is overwhelmingly in favor of universal access to strong crypto. This is
a democracy, after all, and the FBI and NSA still work for the people.
If you need help standing up for what's right, you'll get it. Take your
case to the public, and you'll be suprised at the response you'll get.
Why not say:
1 Netscape will follow all laws and regulations.
2 The current rules are forcing Netscape to choose
between providing reasonable levels of privacy
to its customers and competing in the international
3 Netscape feels the rules should be changed to make
this choice unnecessary.
If you make that argument publicly, you'll get widespread support from the
business communitity and the general public. And if it turns out that we
can't win, you can always fall back on selling totalitarian-friendly