EPIC on the New Clipper Proposal

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke@anu.edu.au
Fri, 4 Oct 1996 08:43:10 +1000


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   Volume 3.17                                    October 2, 1996

                            Published by the
              Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
                            Washington, D.C.


Table of Contents

[1] White House Releases New Clipper Proposal
[2] International Crypto Symposium Held in Paris for OECD
[3] OECD Crypto Experts Meet in Paris
[4] Human Rights Groups Release Crypto Resolution
[5] E-FOIA Bill Approved by House and Senate
[6] P-TRAK SSN System Criticism Continues
[7] Avrahami Files Appeal to State Supreme Court
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

[1] White House Releases New Clipper Proposal

The White House has released the latest version of the key
escrow/recovery plan intended to promote government access to encoded
communications. The new proposal follows similar proposals in which
the Administration offers to relax export regulations in exchange for
an industry commitment to establish key escrow encryption.

Under the plan announced by the Office of the Vice President on
October 1, 1996, companies would be allowed to export 56-bit
encryption systems for the next two years if they setup a formal
process to fully develop a key escrow system. After two years,
non-escrow systems would be prohibited. Jurisdiction for the control
of exports would also be transferred from the State Department to the
Commerce Department. The Justice Department would be given veto power
over export applications. The White House plans to introduce
legislation for key escrow centers.

According to the statement released by the Vice President, the
Administration will continue to promote key escrow encryption through
the purchase of key recovery products, bilateral and multilateral
discussions, federal cryptographic and key recovery standards, and
federal funding.

The statement also said that "the Administration's initiative is
broadly consistent with the recent recommendations of the National
Research Council." However, the NRC report recommended against
government promotion of key escrow encryption, noting that "the risks
of key escrow encryption are considerable," Earlier this year, the
Internet Society also endorsed a recommendation of the Internet
Architecture Board and the Internet Engineering Steering Group which
said that "such policies are against the interests of consumers and
the business community, and are largely irrelevant to issues of
military security."

IBM announced that it would establish an industry consortium to
support the plan, and several US hardware companies signed on.
However, Netscape head Jim Barkesdale described the proposal as
"extortion". Bipartisan criticism was also heard from Congress. Both
Senator Leahy and Senator Burns quickly issued releases criticizing
the proposal.

The software industry expressed opposition to the White House plan.
The Software Publishers Association, the Business Software Alliance,
and the International Technology Association of America criticized the

More information on Clipper 4.0 is available at:




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The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interest
research center in Washington, DC. It was established in 1994 to focus
public attention on emerging privacy issues such as the Clipper Chip,
the Digital Telephony proposal, national id cards, medical record
privacy, and the collection and sale of personal information. EPIC is
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organization established in 1974 to protect civil liberties and
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Thank you for your support.

  ---------------------- END EPIC Alert 3.17 -----------------------

Roger Clarke              http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel:  +61  6  288 6916                       Fax:   +61  6  288 1472

Visiting Fellow, Faculty of          Email:  Roger.Clarke@anu.edu.au
    Engineering and Information Technology
Information Sciences Building Room 211       Tel:   +61  6  249 3666
The Australian National University
Canberra   ACT   0200   AUSTRALIA            Fax:   +61  6  249 0010