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Re: GAK Flap Happening at a Good Time--Journalists Read!

On Sun, 3 Dec 1995 06:20:52 -0500 (EST), you wrote:

>On Sun, 3 Dec 1995, Dan Weinstein wrote:
>> On Sat, 2 Dec 1995 20:16:08 -0500 (EST), Black Unicorn
>> <[email protected]> wrote:
>> >On Sat, 2 Dec 1995, Jeff Weinstein wrote:
>> >
>> >> Black Unicorn wrote:
>> >> > To the outsider, it looks as if Netscape 'owes' the government.
>> >> 
>> >>   We do owe the government.  They have paid us for Servers and Clients
>> >> that support Fortezza.  That is what we owe them.  The money that the
>> >> NSA gave us for Fortezza is not very significant compared to what we
>> >> are getting from commercial sources.
>> >
>> >Obviously it was significant enough to take.  It was also a perfect 
>> >opportunity for Netscape to express concerns about the future of the 
>> >technology, which is in netscape's interest.  The astute deal maker would 
>> >be happy to work with the NSA on his own terms.  Instead, it 
>> >would appear that Netscape is working FOR NSA on their terms.
>> If you read what they had to say about this, you know that they are
>> hoping others will create non-escrowed crypto hardware using the same
>> interface.  I see no reason for them to not include support for any
>> available hardware system (even if it includes GAK), as long as they
>> continue to support non-escrowed encryption internally.  This allows
>> the customer to decide that they have no problem with GAK and use the
>> external system, or use the internal system and not have GAK.
>I read it quite carefully.  I just was not as easily taken in by the 
>double speak as you were.

I see, you cannot say that they are really supporting GAK based upon
the actual statements made, so you simply assert it.

>Hoping others will do something is about as useful as sitting on your thumb.

Yes, but making something an economically viable venture is very
useful.  That is what they have done.  They have implemented an
interface into a widely available piece of software.  This makes it
much more economically viable for others to implement strong crypto
into another product using the same interface.

>Netscape is in a position to make some policy impact here.  If they 
>insist on going another way, I want to hear why, not that they are all on 
>our side and we should be nice because really we're all in this together, 
>and afterall, Netscape isn't such a bad lot.

Jeff Weinstein has said that Netscape is drafting an official position
paper and that it would be available in the near future.  If Netscape
lives up to this, we will soon enough have the companies position and
not just that of two employees (Jeff Weinstein and Jim Clark).  Why do
you feel you must jump to judge the company based on the opinions of
two of its employees?  This is especially questionable when one is
clearly stating that the company is against GAK and the other is at
worst being unclear.  If you feel they are being contradictory, wait a
week and look at their policy statement then decide.

>They can support whoever they like.  I just want to hear WHY.  More 
>importantly, I don't want to be snowed with some horse hockey answer.  It 
>insults my intelligence.  Yours was obviously unaffected.

Wait a week and read their official statement then decide.  You accuse
me of logical fallacies, but then argue through insult and assertion.
You have not pointed to a single fact or any contradictory statements
in posts to this list.  I will admit that Jim Clark was somewhat
unclear, but I attribute this to the fact that the official company
position is as yet not written and thus he is attempting to remain
somewhat neutral.

>> >I'd be interested to know what a 'government liason person' is.  It 
>> >sounds to me like an 'in house lobbist.'  There is an old joke in the 
>> >beltway about in house lobbists.
>> >
>> >I also would like to know why you are actively lobbying for 
>> >'claification' rather than 'modification' of the current policy.
>> Until the current policy is clearly defined it is like a moving
>> target.  Once the government has been pinned down to a single policy,
>> it will be much easier to dispute their policies.  Currently the
>> government can say anything they want about their enforcement of ITAR,
>> because they have not stated a clear set of rules with regard to it.
>> Once they have set clear rules, those rules can be shown to be overly
>> restrictive or even unenforceable.
>I believe you actually think you are teaching me something here.

You asked why they wanted clarification and I simply responded.

>I said before, and I will say again.  If Netscape is against GAK, then 
>let them be AGAINST GAK.  If they are just going to try and finesse their 
>way into the market without making to many waves, let's hear it that way 
>instead of some crap about how they are 'lobbying actively against GAK' 
>(Which I might point out, is an assertion that fell apart at the most 
>basic prodding).

Wait a week.  As far as their lobbying assertion falling apart, I must
have missed this.  My understanding is that:

A)  They support several industry groups that are taking an active
position in opposition to GAK.

B)  They have until very recently had only very limited resources.

C)  Have just recently hired an in house lobbyist.

D)  That they did not attend the Bernstein hearing.

Now given point B, I see no reason to expect that they would in the
past have done much more than they have.  Given point C, I see they
are currently expanding their lobbying.  If point D is the measure of
crypto correctness, then I to am guilty.  Though I do not live in the
vicinity, I guess I should have been expected to fly up to lend my
moral support.  Bovine excrement.

>> Also, lawyers usually advise clients based on a worst case scenario,
>> thus when the government is unclear on its rules, the lawyers advise
>> their clients based upon the worst possible interpretation of the law.
>> This is done to protect their client.  By not stating a policy, the
>> government is making that worst case happen, without having to be the
>> bad guy by actually attempting to enforce such a policy.
>I really think you are pompus enough to think you are teaching people 
>things they don't know here.

Again, you asked, I answered.  I did not expect that this would be new
to anyone on the list, but you asked.

>I invite you to re-read the entire conversation and discover, as an 
>exercise, that the issue is not what the government is or is not doing, 
>but what netscape is or is not doing.  I could care about Netscape's 
>loose-lipped lawyers.

You seem very concerned about what Netscape is doing, and as such
should be concerned about what their lawyers are _forced_ to tell
them.  I understand that the discussion is about Netscape not the
government, but discussing actions without discussing motives is

>> >
>> >Netscape seems to be taking the position, "We'd love it if you'd let us 
>> >do X, but we are happy to roll over for whatever."  and  "By the way, 
>> >what is the rule on exporting software again?"
>> >
>> >I am impressed that some effort is being made.  I think it in the form of 
>> >'too little, too late.'  But hey, who am I?
>> I think you are being too critical, they have done more than any
>> company I know of to make easy to use crypto widely available.
>0 + .00001 = .00001
>Yes, just as last time you checked, .00001 is still more than 0.

My point is that you are too quick to call your recent ally an enemy.
You may not see what Netscape has done as important, but I believe
that many do (including me).  They are supposed to have integrated
e-mail crypto in the final release of Navigator 2.0.  I will remind
you that Jeff Weinstein has said that this will not include GAK.

>> They
>> may be willing to obey the laws if they require GAK, but I do not feel
>> that they are just rolling over either.  I strongly oppose GAK, but I
>> do not believe that no crypto is better than GAK crypto.  I would
>> rather keep some people out than nobody out.
>Your ignorance is assuming that the options you present are the only 
>options available.  JW made the same mistake.  In logical discourse this 
>is called "narrowing the field."  It's a version of the 'straw man' 
>and a classic flaw in logical argument.

I am not saying that the choice is between either no crypto or GAK
crypto.  I am saying that they have only said that they will go to GAK
if the choice is between GAK crypto and no crypto.  To the best of my
knowledge they have not said that they would implement a GAK only
product in any other situation.  I think that this is reasonable, I do
not think that we should let it come to this.  We need to insure that
they (or anyone else) are never put into that position.  (and yes they
should to.)

>> Dan Weinstein
>> [email protected]
>> http://www.earthlink.net/~danjw
>> PGP public key is available from my Home Page.
>> All opinions expressed above are mine.
>> "I understand by 'freedom of Spirit' something quite definite -
>> the unconditional will to say No, where it is dangerous to say
>> No.    
>This has got to be the most ironic of signatures I have ever seen.
>Why don't you begin to apply the cute quotes you put in your .sig to real 
>life and tell Netscape to grow a backbone and say 'No.' to GAK?

I sent a message to Netscape after reading the article that started
this,  It simply stated that I wanted clarification on their position
on GAK and that if they were to support it they would lose a loyal
customer.  I have since been convinced by Jeff Weinstein's posts to
this list that the company does not support GAK, and in fact they
oppose it.  You would do better to spend less time insulting people
and more time trying to support your arguments.

Dan Weinstein
[email protected]
PGP public key is available from my Home Page.
All opinions expressed above are mine.

"I understand by 'freedom of Spirit' something quite definite -
the unconditional will to say No, where it is dangerous to say
           Friedrich Nietzsche