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Note to Net-lobbyists: give it up already, abandon Congress
Lee, of course, has it exactly right. This is why (in retrospect) the
attempt to pass SAFE was doomed -- and dangerous. Crypto-advocates didn't
have enough votes to override a veto and likely never will, as long as
this is a "national security issue." If you're going to try the
legislative route, elect a crypto-friendly president first. Maybe
Ashcroft, one potential candidate, will be that fellow. Certainly
Kerrey-with-an-e, also jockeying for the job, isn't.
What the Net-lobbyists did was open the lid of a Pandora's Box they didn't
have the strength to close.
I'm not the only one who thinks so. Two people have griped to me in so
many hours about how milquetoast and disinterested Silicon Valley is in
crypto. They shouldn't have started something they didn't have the strengh
to finish, especially if it has such dire consequences when perverted.
Message to Net-lobbyists: look at what happened when this time. Please
concentrate on blocking all crypto legislation, not trying to fix it.
(Yes, I realize you won't have anything do with crypto, won't "be a
player." Shucks.) The status quo, combined with the court challenges, is
not that bad.
On Fri, 12 Sep 1997, Lee Tien wrote:
> The govt never plays just one game. This was for them a nice piece of
> judo, taking the momentum built up by the lobbying for SAFE, and
> redirecting it.
> Clinton would veto a "good" bill, and I seriously doubt that anyone ever
> thought a veto-proof "good" bill could be fashioned. The status quo has
> great inertia. Presidents prefer not to veto bills if they don't have to,
> though -- the most effective way to use a veto is to make the proponents of
> legislation trip over their own feet in trying to get a compromise.
> The administration also uses this process as a probe. Drafts are floated,
> and they get feedback. They learn where the congressfolks really are, see
> how effective the tried and true classified briefing is, see how effective
> the opposition is. Many positions can be tested with commitment to none
> because there's "internal conflict."
> It looks like no-lose for the administration. If unSAFE passes, they're
> ecstatic. If nothing passes, nothing changes. Export controls are still
> there, and the "voluntary" recoverable crypto initiative continues apace.