[rc5] ALERT: Show Your Support for Privacy on the Net During August (fwd)
chipper at llamas.net
Thu Jul 31 09:25:05 EDT 1997
Please encrypt anything important.
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 15:20:19 -0400
From: Jonah Seiger <editor at cdt.org>
To: Multiple recipients of list <com-priv at lists.psi.com>
Subject: ALERT: Show Your Support for Privacy on the Net During August
___ _ _____ ____ _____ _
/ _ \| | | ____| _ \_ _| | Visit Your Member of Congress during the
| |_| | | | _| | |_) || | | | Month of August - Help Support Privacy
| _ | |___| |___| _ < | | |_| and Security on the Net!!
|_| |_|_____|_____|_| \_\|_| (_) Posted July 29, 1997
Please forward where appropriate until September 2, 1997
This alert brought to you by
The Voters Telecommunications Watch, the Center for Democracy and Technology,
the Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF-Austin Americans for Tax Reform,
and Wired Magazine
Table of Contents
What's Happening Right Now
What You Can Do To Help Privacy And Security On The Internet
- Meet Your Member of Congress, Tell Them How You Feel
Background On The Encryption Policy Issue and HR 695, the SAFE bill
What's At Stake in this debate
About This Alert
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD...
The government is demanding that you provide guaranteed law enforcement
access to your private online communications and business transactions.
Your Congressman will be heading home for the month of August. Now is a
great time to let him or her know that privacy on the Internet is important
Please read the ALERT below and find out what you can do to help.
WHAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW
The FBI, CIA, NSA and other law enforcement agencies are pressuring
Congress to pass legislation to force anyone who wants to protect their
privacy on the Internet to use programs with built in "key recovery"
features -- virtual back doors which would allow law enforcement (and
anyone else sophisticated enough to find a weakness) access to your private
This effort by the Clinton Administration to force the domestic use of
government approved "key recovery" encryption represents a very real threat
to your privacy and security in the Information Age.
Fortunately, a bill known as the "Security and Freedom Through Encryption
Act" (HR 695) is making its way through the House of Representatives. The
bill, known as SAFE, would help protect privacy and security on the
* Prohibiting the government from imposing key recovery or key escrow
encryption inside the United States or abroad.
* Allowing Americans the ability to use whatever form of encryption they
* Encouraging the widespread availability of strong, easy-to-use
encryption technologies by relaxing cold war-era export restrictions.
SAFE enjoys support from a bi-partisan majority of 250 Members of the House
of Representatives, and has been endorsed by civil liberties and public
interest groups from both sides of the political spectrum, as well as a
broad cross section of the computer and communications industries.
The SAFE bill has recently cleared two key House committees and is expected
to be voted on by the full House of Representatives in September.
As your Representatives in Congress head home for the August recess, now is
a great time to let them know that the folks back home care about
protecting privacy on the Internet.
Please read the instructions below to find out what you can do to
participate in "Meet Your Member Month," and join the fight to protect your
right to privacy online.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
Between August 1 and September 2, Congress will be in recess and your
Congressman will be in your area meeting with constituents at large town
hall meetings and individual appointments. These meetings are a great
opportunity to show them that the folks back home care about
privacy on the Internet.
If you can't make a meeting, consider sending a letter or making a phone
call to your Congressman's home office. Whatever you can do to show your
support for privacy and security on the Net will make a big difference when
the issue is voted on by the full house in September.
1. Visit http://www.crypto.com/member/
Simply enter your Zip Code to:
* Find the name and contact information for your Representative
* Sign up to join the Adopt Your Legislator Campaign;
* Learn about your Congressman's voting record and positions on
the encryption issue;
* Tips on how to set up a meeting and contacting your Congressman;
* Links to background information on the SAFE bill, and more.
2. Forward this ALERT to your fiends and colleagues. Urge them to join
Adopt Your Legislator campaign at http://www.crypto.com/adopt/
Two years ago, the Internet user community responded in overwhelming
numbers to the threat of censorship and joined together to defeat the
Communications Decency Act. The ongoing debate over US encryption policy
reform is no less important, and will determine the future of privacy and
security in the Information Age.
Now is the time to join the fight, before its too late.
BACKGROUND ON THE ENCRYPTION POLICY ISSUE
Complete background information, including:
* A down-to-earth explanation of why this debate is important to
* Analysis and background on the issue
* An analysis of the Risks of Key-Recovery by leading cryptographers
* Text of the Administration draft legislation
* Text of Congressional bills to reform US encryption policy, includig SAFE
* Audio transcripts and written testimony from recent Congressional
Hearings on encryption policy reform
* And more!
Are all available at http://www.crypto.com/
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Encryption technologies are the locks and keys of the Information age,
enabling individuals and businesses to protect sensitive information
as it is transmitted over the Internet. As more and more individuals
and businesses come online, the need for strong, reliable, easy-to-use
encryption technologies has become a critical issue to the health and
viability of the Net.
Current US encryption policy, which limits the strength of encryption
products US companies can sell abroad, also limits the availability of
strong, easy-to-use encryption technologies in the United States. US
hardware and software manufacturers who wish to sell their products on
the global market must either conform to US encryption export limits or
produce two separate versions of the same product, a costly and
The export controls, which the NSA and FBI argue help to keep strong
encryption out of the hands of foreign adversaries, are having the
opposite effect. Strong encryption is available abroad, but because of
the export limits and the confusion created by nearly four years of
debate over US encryption policy, strong, easy-to-use privacy and
security technologies are not widely available off the shelf or "on the
net" here in the US.
A recently discovered flaw in the security of the new digital telephone
network exposed the worst aspects of the Administration's encryption
policy. Because the designers needed to be able to export their
products, the system's security was "dumbed down". Researchers
subsequently discovered that it is quite easy to break the security of the
system and intrude on what should be private conversations.
This incident underscores the larger policy problem: US companies are
at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace when competing
against companies that do not have such hindrances. And now, for the first
time in history, the Clinton Administration and members of the US Senate
have proposed DOMESTIC RESTRICTIONS on the ability of Americans to protect
their privacy and security online.
All of us care about our national security, and no one wants to make it
any easier for criminals and terrorists to commit criminal acts. But we
must also recognize encryption technologies can aid law enforcement
and protect national security by limiting the threat of industrial
espionage and foreign spying, promote electronic commerce and protecting
What's at stake in this debate is nothing less than the future of
privacy and the fate of the Internet as a secure and trusted medium for
commerce, education, and political discourse.
For more information on this issue and the various legislative and
administration proposals to reform US encryption policy, visit
ABOUT THIS ALERT
This message was brought to you by the following Internet advocacy groups
who have joined togther to educate Congress and the public about the
importance of encryption policy reform:
* the Center for Democracy and Technology -- http://www.cdt.org/
* the Voters Telecommunications Watch -- http://www.vtw.org/
* the Electronic Fronter Foundation -- http://www.eff.org/
* EFF-Austin -- http://www.eff-austin.org/
* Americans for Tax Reform -- http://www.atr.org
* Wired Magazine -- http://www.wired.com/
For more information, visit http://www.crypto.com/about/
end alert 07.29.97
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