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re: NIST GAK export meeting, sv


- From Pat Farrell's <[email protected]> short summary of the NIST GAK
meeting (12/5/95 5:49 PM):

>My favorite policeman, Geoff Greiveldinger, then described the
>characteristics of an acceptable key escrow agent. There was a long list
>of criteria, all unseen before the meeting. The general reaction
>of the audience was that these were "yet another set of criteria that
>must be met." Geoff claimed that they were simply trying to address
>the questions raised at the earlier meeting about who is an
>acceptable escrow agent. One point that caused a lot of concern
>was that at least one employee of the escrow agent has to have a SECRET

      (Thanks for the summary, Pat.)
      This last bit is really rich. I can't think of a single publically
defensible reason for the stipulation that every escrow agent must employ
someone with SECRET clearance, but I *can* think of a publically
indefensible reason for it -- to facilitate those spooky non-court wiretap
authorizations that've been alluded to in the fine print of the GAK

      Of course, just because escrow agents would be required to hire
*someone* with a SECRET clearance doesn't mean that *anyone* with a SECRET
clearance would fill the bill. And that's the rub: the administration of
clearing people-with-SECRET-clearances for escrow agent employment would
be conducted -- where else? -- *in secret*. SECRET clearance, of course,
wouldn't be the salient criterion; after all, there are people on the
Cypherpunks list -- and a few who aren't on it but are like-minded --
who'd be, uh, reluctant to deliver keys in the absence of a a wiretap
authorized by a judge.
      And, as a petty aside, it's nice to see that the gov't had cooked up
yet another way to force potentially legitimate businesses to pay its
stoolpigeons to chip away out our civil rights.


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