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Re: Federal motivation


Martin Minow wrote:
>Anonymous, signing as Monty Cantsin, Editor in Chief of Smile Magazine
>quotes my Cypherpunks summary's quote of Eric Hughes:
>>Martin Minow wrote:
>>> EH: Why do the Fed's want access to plaintext? The motivation has
>>> not been made clear. Policy goals are stated in technological terms,
>>> not in policy terms.
>>Perhaps we can elaborate on this.  Judging from their actions, what
>>they want is a full blown police state.  They've seen the product, now
>>they want one of their own.  This is obvious to everybody on this
>>list, but sometimes people are coy about it, probably in an effort to
>>appear to be "legitimate".
>Sorry, it isn't obvious to me. The most paranoid I can work myself
>up to is to assume that some (not all) of our leaders want to restore
>their half-remembered 1950's Dick-and-Jane, big car, Eisenhauer suburbian
>childhood; and are afraid that letting absolute privacy loose will
>be the end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it.

The discussion is encryption, not absolute privacy.  It will still be
possible to inexpensively bug homes, offices, computers, etc.

Mass surveillance is only required for a police state, not to protect
the suburbs, not to protect children, not to catch real criminals.

So, when a secret police agency wants to set up a mass surveillance
system, what is the likely motivation for their action?

>This parallels the battles that were waged in the early 1960's, as
>the civil rights movement (and the Pill) shattered the myth of
>suburbia. The police and FBI felt, quite sincerely, that they were in
>the midst of a revolution and had to take "necessary measures" to
>save America.

What concerns me is what they will do, not their mental state when
they are doing it.  Even torturers believe they are doing the right
thing.  So what?

BTW, institutional loyalty does not require every member of the armed
services or secret police agencies to be fully cognizant of what they
are doing.  They just have to buy into the plan.  The leaders probably
don't believe in Santa Claus, though.

>The new cryptography makes the Internet safe for child pornographers,
>for revolutionaries, for criminals, as well as for human rights
>workers, for religious missionaries in unfriendly countries, and
>multinational corporations.

Yeah, last I checked, books were still safe, too.

>The message I read from the attempt to criminalize strong
>cryptography is that the risk of damage from the pornographers (etc.)
>is so great that we must restrict cryptography and trust the national
>leadership to respect the rights of the good guys. Unfortunately, one
>country's human rights worker is another country's dangerous

You would benefit from a study of the activities of the Federal
government over the last sixty years.  Pay particular attention to the
seedy political activities of the FBI and don't forget to cover CIA
assassination and torture programs.  Then come back and tell us
whether you still think they really care about children or whether
this is just a reason given to cover their actual activities.  (And
please explain why organizations which traditionally are not involved
with protecting children suddenly find it in their charter when mass
surveillance is on the table.)

For that matter, study the history of communications systems.  Why do
you suppose it is that governments have traditionally taken control of
postal systems?  Do you suppose it could have anything to do with

Bill Frantz wrote:
>At 6:54 PM -0700 9/14/97, Martin Minow wrote:
>>Remember, the Martin Luther King who was thrown in jail in Alabama
>>in the early 1960's was the same Martin Luther Kings who received
>>the Nobel Peace Prize a few years later, and who was killed for
>>his revolutionary activities just a few years after that. Whether
>>he was a hero or villian depends on who writes the history book
>>and it is, ultimately, our responsibility to make sure that many,
>>conflicting, history books can be written.
>Most particularly remember that the director-for-life of the FBI used
>telephone intercepts in an attempt to get this Martin Luther King to commit

Good example.  This is one of many well documented examples of FBI
misbehavior throughout its entire history and even its pre-history.
(Hoover was involved with the Palmer Raids following World War I when
hundreds of people were arrested and thrown into makeshift prisons
without trials.  Some were kept there for years.)

In the case of MLK, his father and his grandfather were under
surveillance by the Federal Government since about WWI.  What crime
was being investigated?  None.  They weren't well liked in official

Thomas Junker wrote:
>This stuff is serious. This pattern is not new -- it is just new
>*here*, a development of the last 20 years. Similar slippery slopes
>have been traveled in other countries, in other times. These times
>are getting way too interesting for comfort.

You're on the right track, but the FBI has been a menace to the United
States since its inception.  Now, however, people are willing to let
them get away with more and some truly scary technologies exist.  And,
they are making their play.

Monty Cantsin
Editor in Chief
Smile Magazine

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