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Re: Info on Netscape's key escrow position
>From Hal Finney:
[in regard to Jim Clark "preaching acquiescence"]:
Where is the recognition that the right to tap communications is not granted by
God but an accident of technology, one which can be taken away by technological
progress as easily as it was granted?
I agree with Hal's comments. If Netscape acquiesced to the use of GAK, it
would be very easy for cypherpunks and others to switch browsers; they could
re-direct interest to Mosaic or even create their own.
Netscape is in a prominent position, however, in the net community, which is
looking to prevent government control of their electronic communication. The
NSA and other government agencies are looking for excuses to give their
decisions the appearance of legitimacy. Any perceived weakness on the part of
the commercial key players in cyberspace can be perceived as conducive towards
the implementation of mandatory security plans, in disregard of the actual
desires of internet users.
It appears that Netscape is stuck between a rock and a hard place:
. if they adamantly resist GAK, they're in trouble with "the Law"
. if they appear agreeable to complying with future legal mandates, they're in
trouble in with their customers in cyberspace.
Losing the fight intellectually precedes losing it in fact. This is more
likely to result when the distinction between government "authority" vs citizen
"rights" is obscured from the general consciousness (as in: whose business is
Anyone who provides a communication service which can be made accessible to
"the Law" becomes by default a representative of the issue, which to me amounts
to what someone want to promote in the U.S. (or the world) in terms of ideals;
in terms of a way of life.
It would promote an atmosphere of intellectual integrity to have explicitly
definite statements about the objections to GAK, but barring that it is useful
to know that these representatives appreciate why the difference is important.
. is it because money is being lost?
. because privacy is at stake?
. because the ideal of self-determination is being muddled, along with
. an understanding of where the concept of "individual unit citizens" stands
in relation to concepts of "government authority"?
. because of the consequences of that obfuscation?
The caution with which this GAK business is being dealt with I think is
symptomatic of an underlying problem, which is of not having a sense of freedom
to stand up to the Dark Side.