PRIVACY Forum Archive Document
PRIVACY Forum Digest Friday, 16 April 1993 Volume 02 : Issue 12 Moderated by Lauren Weinstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) Vortex Technology, Topanga, CA, U.S.A. ===== PRIVACY FORUM ===== The PRIVACY Forum digest is supported in part by the ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy. CONTENTS Text of White House announcement and Q&As on clipper chip encryption (Clipper Chip Announcement) Re: Personal letters (Paul Robinson) Personal Letters (Jerry Leichter) More on Chicago DEA Surveillance (Sarah M. Elkins) *** Please include a RELEVANT "Subject:" line on all submissions! *** *** Submissions without them may be ignored! *** ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- The PRIVACY Forum is a moderated digest for the discussion and analysis of issues relating to the general topic of privacy (both personal and collective) in the "information age" of the 1990's and beyond. 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For information regarding the availability of this digest via FAX, please send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org, call (310) 455-9300, or FAX to (310) 455-2364. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- VOLUME 02, ISSUE 12 Quote for the day: "Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead." -- Benjamin Franklin, July 1735 (1706-1790) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 16 Apr 93 11:07:20 EDT From: email@example.com (Clipper Chip Announcement) Subject: text of White House announcement and Q&As on clipper chip encryption Note: This file will also be available via anonymous file transfer from csrc.ncsl.nist.gov/ in directory /pub/nistnews and via the NIST Computer Security BBS at 301-948-5717. --------------------------------------------------- THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary _______________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release April 16, 1993 STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY The President today announced a new initiative that will bring the Federal Government together with industry in a voluntary program to improve the security and privacy of telephone communications while meeting the legitimate needs of law enforcement. The initiative will involve the creation of new products to accelerate the development and use of advanced and secure telecommunications networks and wireless communications links. For too long there has been little or no dialogue between our private sector and the law enforcement community to resolve the tension between economic vitality and the real challenges of protecting Americans. Rather than use technology to accommodate the sometimes competing interests of economic growth, privacy and law enforcement, previous policies have pitted government against industry and the rights of privacy against law enforcement. Sophisticated encryption technology has been used for years to protect electronic funds transfer. It is now being used to protect electronic mail and computer files. While encryption technology can help Americans protect business secrets and the unauthorized release of personal information, it also can be used by terrorists, drug dealers, and other criminals. A state-of-the-art microcircuit called the "Clipper Chip" has been developed by government engineers. The chip represents a new approach to encryption technology. It can be used in new, relatively inexpensive encryption devices that can be attached to an ordinary telephone. It scrambles telephone communications using an encryption algorithm that is more powerful than many in commercial use today. This new technology will help companies protect proprietary information, protect the privacy of personal phone conversations and prevent unauthorized release of data transmitted electronically. At the same time this technology preserves the ability of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to intercept lawfully the phone conversations of criminals. A "key-escrow" system will be established to ensure that the "Clipper Chip" is used to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans. Each device containing the chip will have two unique 2 "keys," numbers that will be needed by authorized government agencies to decode messages encoded by the device. When the device is manufactured, the two keys will be deposited separately in two "key-escrow" data bases that will be established by the Attorney General. Access to these keys will be limited to government officials with legal authorization to conduct a wiretap. The "Clipper Chip" technology provides law enforcement with no new authorities to access the content of the private conversations of Americans. To demonstrate the effectiveness of this new technology, the Attorney General will soon purchase several thousand of the new devices. In addition, respected experts from outside the government will be offered access to the confidential details of the algorithm to assess its capabilities and publicly report their findings. The chip is an important step in addressing the problem of encryption's dual-edge sword: encryption helps to protect the privacy of individuals and industry, but it also can shield criminals and terrorists. We need the "Clipper Chip" and other approaches that can both provide law-abiding citizens with access to the encryption they need and prevent criminals from using it to hide their illegal activities. In order to assess technology trends and explore new approaches (like the key-escrow system), the President has directed government agencies to develop a comprehensive policy on encryption that accommodates: -- the privacy of our citizens, including the need to employ voice or data encryption for business purposes; -- the ability of authorized officials to access telephone calls and data, under proper court or other legal order, when necessary to protect our citizens; -- the effective and timely use of the most modern technology to build the National Information Infrastructure needed to promote economic growth and the competitiveness of American industry in the global marketplace; and -- the need of U.S. companies to manufacture and export high technology products. The President has directed early and frequent consultations with affected industries, the Congress and groups that advocate the privacy rights of individuals as policy options are developed. 3 The Administration is committed to working with the private sector to spur the development of a National Information Infrastructure which will use new telecommunications and computer technologies to give Americans unprecedented access to information. This infrastructure of high-speed networks ("information superhighways") will transmit video, images, HDTV programming, and huge data files as easily as today's telephone system transmits voice. Since encryption technology will play an increasingly important role in that infrastructure, the Federal Government must act quickly to develop consistent, comprehensive policies regarding its use. The Administration is committed to policies that protect all Americans' right to privacy while also protecting them from those who break the law. Further information is provided in an accompanying fact sheet. The provisions of the President's directive to acquire the new encryption technology are also available. For additional details, call Mat Heyman, National Institute of Standards and Technology, (301) 975-2758. --------------------------------- QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION'S TELECOMMUNICATIONS INITIATIVE Q: Does this approach expand the authority of government agencies to listen in on phone conversations? A: No. "Clipper Chip" technology provides law enforcement with no new authorities to access the content of the private conversations of Americans. Q: Suppose a law enforcement agency is conducting a wiretap on a drug smuggling ring and intercepts a conversation encrypted using the device. What would they have to do to decipher the message? A: They would have to obtain legal authorization, normally a court order, to do the wiretap in the first place. They would then present documentation of this authorization to the two entities responsible for safeguarding the keys and obtain the keys for the device being used by the drug smugglers. The key is split into two parts, which are stored separately in order to ensure the security of the key escrow system. Q: Who will run the key-escrow data banks? A: The two key-escrow data banks will be run by two independent entities. At this point, the Department of Justice and the Administration have yet to determine which agencies will oversee the key-escrow data banks. Q: How strong is the security in the device? How can I be sure how strong the security is? A: This system is more secure than many other voice encryption systems readily available today. While the algorithm will remain classified to protect the security of the key escrow system, we are willing to invite an independent panel of cryptography experts to evaluate the algorithm to assure all potential users that there are no unrecognized vulnerabilities. Q: Whose decision was it to propose this product? A: The National Security Council, the Justice Department, the Commerce Department, and other key agencies were involved in this decision. This approach has been endorsed by the President, the Vice President, and appropriate Cabinet officials. Q: Who was consulted? The Congress? Industry? A: We have on-going discussions with Congress and industry on encryption issues, and expect those discussions to intensify as we carry out our review of encryption policy. We have briefed members of Congress and industry leaders on the decisions related to this initiative. Q: Will the government provide the hardware to manufacturers? A: The government designed and developed the key access encryption microcircuits, but it is not providing the microcircuits to product manufacturers. Product manufacturers can acquire the microcircuits from the chip manufacturer that produces them. Q: Who provides the "Clipper Chip"? A: Mykotronx programs it at their facility in Torrance, California, and will sell the chip to encryption device manufacturers. The programming function could be licensed to other vendors in the future. Q: How do I buy one of these encryption devices? A: We expect several manufacturers to consider incorporating the "Clipper Chip" into their devices. Q: If the Administration were unable to find a technological solution like the one proposed, would the Administration be willing to use legal remedies to restrict access to more powerful encryption devices? A: This is a fundamental policy question which will be considered during the broad policy review. The key escrow mechanism will provide Americans with an encryption product that is more secure, more convenient, and less expensive than others readily available today, but it is just one piece of what must be the comprehensive approach to encryption technology, which the Administration is developing. The Administration is not saying, "since encryption threatens the public safety and effective law enforcement, we will prohibit it outright" (as some countries have effectively done); nor is the U.S. saying that "every American, as a matter of right, is entitled to an unbreakable commercial encryption product." There is a false "tension" created in the assessment that this issue is an "either-or" proposition. Rather, both concerns can be, and in fact are, harmoniously balanced through a reasoned, balanced approach such as is proposed with the "Clipper Chip" and similar encryption techniques. Q: What does this decision indicate about how the Clinton Administration's policy toward encryption will differ from that of the Bush Administration? A: It indicates that we understand the importance of encryption technology in telecommunications and computing and are committed to working with industry and public-interest groups to find innovative ways to protect Americans' privacy, help businesses to compete, and ensure that law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to fight crime and terrorism. Q: Will the devices be exportable? Will other devices that use the government hardware? A: Voice encryption devices are subject to export control requirements. Case-by-case review for each export is required to ensure appropriate use of these devices. The same is true for other encryption devices. One of the attractions of this technology is the protection it can give to U.S. companies operating at home and abroad. With this in mind, we expect export licenses will be granted on a case-by-case basis for U.S. companies seeking to use these devices to secure their own communications abroad. We plan to review the possibility of permitting wider exportability of these products. [ I will, with considerable restraint, refrain from detailed editorializing regarding this material in this issue of the digest. I expect to see some spirited discussion of this topic in future issues, however! A few general thoughts do seem appropriate, though. There are clearly several different aspects of this announcement that need to be carefuly considered. The first is the technology itself, including algorithmic security and robustness, unit registration issues, key distribution and management, and so on. Another aspect revolves around how this technology and its use would relate to current and future wiretap law and the actual interception of communications, regardless of whether or not intercepted data were immediately decoded. Finally, there's the whole issue of "public trust" as it relates to the concept of the proposed "key escrow" system and the conditions under which those split keys would be assembled and utilized. Comments, anyone? -- MODERATOR ] ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1993 03:03:09 -0400 (EDT) From: Paul Robinson <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Personal letters On < Mon, 29 Mar 1993 13:24:37 (PST) > In Comp Privacy 2-11, Steven Hodas <email@example.com> > > If I send a personal letter to someone do they have the right to > disclose it to others without my consent? No. The Copyright act of 1978 and later amendments gave statutory protection at the federal level for the first time to unpublished works. > Does this vary state by state? No. Prior to the 1978 law, an unpublished work was subject to the protection of the common law of the state in question. The new law expressly excludes states from having any jurisdiction over unpublished works and voids any "common law copyright" which might have existed. All works are automatically protected under federal law. > If it's prohibited, is it a civil or a criminal issue? Civil. > If it is permitted doesn't that suggest that we have greater privacy > protection for electronic communciation because the ECPA would prohibit > that kind of disclosure? I think you are confusing things. The ECPA gives to Electronic mail the same protections which are available for telephone conversations - the protection against interception by third parties or the use of intercepted E-Mail by law enforcement personnel without a warrant, i.e. what the laws against wiretapping and recording of telephone calls, the ECPA provides to the same extent to E-Mail. The ECPA does not apply to the sender or recipient of the message. It only applies to anyone who may see a message prior to its delivery to the designated mailbox or delivery point. It applies to the E-Mail providers who carry the message and to anyone who delivers it. I am also posting this to the Risks Digest for a reason which has to do with another issue which almost no one has noticed. As of April 1, 1988, the United States became a member of the Berne Union for the Protection of Literary Works. This treaty is most famous as the reason companies would simultaneously publish a book in Canada in order to obtain protection under the Berne Convention. As of four years ago, that process was no longer necessary because the U.S. is now a member of the Berne Union. The most significant issue under Berne (I refer to this as "It Berne's me up") is that there are no formalities or requirements of notification in order for a work to obtain copyright protection. What this means is that copyright notices became totally optional after April 1, 1988 for all works first published on or after that date. In theory, if you obtained a computer program from someone which simply had his name and address on it, and wanted to use it, you would have to find out if the person who wrote it wanted anything to license it. You can be sued, and lose, and the other party can collect damages, even though the work has no indication of copyright notice. I live just outside of Washington, DC and the Copyright office is just a 20 minute train ride away. A frightening fact is that despite the treaty having been around for more than four years, the Copyright office still does not have copies of the text of the treaty. They have copies of the Phonolog Convention (for protection of sound recordings) and they have copies of the Universal Copyright Convention (which instituted the C in a circle copyright notice.) But Berne is conspicuously absent. It makes me wonder what things are stated in this treaty that are so bad that nobody wants people to know what it says. (The last time I tried to get a copy was about a year ago, but that still was 3 years after implementation and the Copyright Office STILL did not have copies of the text of the treaty. It makes me wonder why. Just remember this little piece of information. A treaty, once ratified by the Senate, has the force and effect of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States and can override its provisions. Think about that some time. ----- Paul Robinson -- TDARCOS@MCIMAIL.COM ------------------------------ Date: Sat, 10 Apr 93 08:18:52 EDT From: Jerry Leichter <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Personal Letters In a recent issue of the Privacy Digest, Steven Hodas asks: If I send a personal letter to someone do they have the right to disclose it to others without my consent? There is no one answer to this question. The COPYRIGHT on a personal letter certainly remains with you, the author. This means that the recipient may not make additional copies of the letter. The status of the physical letter itself is more complicated. The question, when it comes up at all, arises when someone famous dies and his heirs try to collect up his old letters. I believe they have the right to do so. However, before you start worrying that you have to save every letter you've ever received, you certainly have no positive duty to preserve property that belongs to someone else and that he has handed to you with no pre-conditions. The only issue is: If you HAVE saved it, can the author insist that you return it? The answer may be yes in some circumstances. Finally, as to the status of the IDEAS in the letter, as opposed to the particular WORDS chosen: With a few exceptions (such as classified material, or information overheard on a non-broadcast radio frequency), there are no restrictions on the use of ideas or knowledge. Neither copyright protection, nor questions of the ownership of the physical letter, have any bearing on the protection of the ideas described. I should note, however, that ethics, courtesy, and common practice among ethical, curteous people is to treat the contents of a private letter as just that, a private communication of words and ideas that belong to their author, not to be used except in ways that the author clearly intended. It may be EASIER to ask forgiveness than permission, but it's certainly NICER to ask permission! If it is permitted doesn't that suggest that we have greater privacy protection for electronic communciation because the ECPA would prohibit that kind of disclosure? Not as I understand the ECPA. The ECPA prohibits the provider of electronic communications services from reading OTHER PEOPLE'S messages, just because they happen to be physically present on a computer system owned by the provider. It also limits the government from similarly reading such messages except in certain circumstances. The analogy is to restrictions on what the post office can do to read your mail. I don't believe the INTENDED RECIPIENT of an electronic message is in any way limited by the ECPA. To look at one last issue: There is always a slightly fuzzy area for misde- livered messages, but that's nothing new - physical mail has been delivered to the wrong mailbox since time immemorial. The widespread use of FAX machines, which, to use an old computer joke, can make more mistakes in a second than the entire population of the US could make using paper and pencil in a century, has made this much more common. There have been cases of law offices accidentally faxing important documents to "the other side". The general result in these cases, as far as I can tell, is that the accidental recipient has to "return" the FAX to the sender if the sender somehow finds out and asks for it, but there's nothing the sender can do to keep the accidental receiver from using any information gleaned from his lucky find. (In the particular case of law offices, legal ethics may place additional obligations on the accidental recipient; for example, he may be required to tell the sender, or perhaps the court. But these are special cases, and the legal ethics experts can argue about them for hours.) -- Jerry ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1993 11:23:39 PDT From: Sarah_M._Elkins.Wbst139@xerox.com Subject: More on Chicago DEA Surveillance forwarded with permission (from libernet via homebrew). Roger adds "At a recent Chicago Beer Society homebrew meeting we heard from two other homebrewers who got the same treatment as the two who were interviewed by WBBM-TV; their stories were probably not interesting to WBBM because they had nothing additional to tell. The point, though, is that they're doing this to MANY people. CBS, both at its local outlets like WBBM Chicago, and at the network level on 60 minutes, has been doing an admirable job of publicizing the abuses inherent in the siezure laws." Regards, Sarah Elkins (email@example.com) ---------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1993 22:46:20 CST From: "Roger Deschner " <U52983@UICVM.UIC.EDU> Subject: HomeBrew Store Staked out by Feds This story was on WBBM-TV, Channel 2, Chicago's CBS station, on this evening's 10 O'Clock News. Starting a week ago, the Drug Enforcement Administration has been watching Chicago Indoor Garden Supply of Streamwood, IL, from a camera somewhat ineptly camouflaged as an electric transformer on a utility pole across the street. This store does 70% of its business in homebrewing suppies, and has become one of the favorite suppliers to Chicago area homebrewers. Two homebrewers were interviewed by Channel 2 who had been followed home from the store by the Federalies, and had their homes ransacked for drugs. When Ch.2's news truck parked in front of a nearby storefront the DEA has been using as a staging location, an "interesting" scene unfolded with a Ch.2 reporter not getting very many answers from the Feds, who tried in vain to keep their cover. (Note: Ch.2 did obscure their faces as per standard practice when showing undercover agents.) Then a swarm of Streamwood Police Dept. cars came, sirens and lights going, to try to chase away the Ch.2 news crew. The whole slant of the story was that this was a case of the DEA going too far in "Operation Green Merchant", where they are going after stores in Suburban Chicago which they suspect are supplying marijuana growers with lights, fertilizer, etc. The presumption is that if they follow enough homebrewers and other purchasers of perfectly legal merchandize home from this store, eventually they'll find drugs in somebody's house, and then they can sieze and close the store. Since they have an officer assigned full-time to follow customers of this store home, they figure the odds are in their favor. Channel 2 Chicago is to be complimented for broadcasting this story, and for emphasizing several times during it that homebrewing is legal. Watch for further developments - WBBM-TV generally does a good job of following up on stories of this sort. ------------------------------ End of PRIVACY Forum Digest 02.12 ************************
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