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PRIVACY Forum Digest        Sunday, 5 May 1996        Volume 05 : Issue 10

            Moderated by Lauren Weinstein (         
              Vortex Technology, Woodland Hills, CA, U.S.A.
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        for any materials posted on or related to the PRIVACY Forum.

        Call for bad arguments against privacy (Phil Agre)
        Wiretap concerns in terrorism bill (Audrie Krause)
        Crypto Legislation (David Sobel)
        Open Letter to Internet Community From Senator Burns (Audrie Krause)

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   Quote for the day:
        "That's what this country needs--more Nathan Hales!"

                -- Uncle Victor (Charles Tyner)
                   "Harold and Maude" (Paramount; 1971)


Date:    Sun, 21 Apr 1996 15:58:03 -0700 (PDT)
From:    Phil Agre <>
Subject: Call for bad arguments against privacy

In my online newsletter, The Network Observer, I periodically summarize
and rebut bad arguments against a broad right to privacy.  At the end 
of this message I've included a partial list of the arguments I have
discussed so far.  I would like to gather another batch of arguments,
probably for the July 1996 issue of TNO, and I am hoping that you can 
help me.  Please send me any bad arguments against privacy rights that
you have encountered, even if you can't quite figure out what's wrong
with them, and even if you don't have a specific example ready to hand.
Arguments concerning specific issues such as government records, medical
privacy, and video surveillance are particularly welcome.  Once I finish
this next set of arguments and rebuttals, I'll gather the whole set into
a "handbook" that can be distributed freely on the Internet.

Thanks very much.

Phil Agre


The Network Observer can be found on the Web at:

The privacy articles can be found indexed a little ways down the page.
Here are most of the arguments that I have discussed in past issues:

  * "We've lost so much of our privacy anyway."

  * "Privacy is an obsolete Victorian hang-up."

  * "Ideas about privacy are culturally specific and it is thus
     impossible to define privacy in the law without bias."

  * "We have strong security on our data."

  * "National identity cards protect privacy by improving
     authentication and data security."

  * "Informational privacy can be protected by converting it into
     a property right."

  * "We have to balance privacy against industry concerns."

  * "Privacy paranoids want to turn back the technological clock."

  * "Most people are privacy pragmatists who can be trusted to make
     intelligent trade-offs between functionality and privacy."

  * "Our lives will inevitably become visible to others, so the
     real issue is mutual visibility, achieving a balance of power
     by enabling us to watch the people who are watching us."

  * "Once you really analyze it, the concept of privacy is so
     nebulous that it provides no useful guidance for action."

  * "People want these systems, as indicated by the percentage
     of them who sign up for them once they become available."

  * "Concern for privacy is anti-social and obstructs the building
     of a democratic society."

  * "Privacy regulation is just one more category of government
     interference in the market, which after all is much better
     at weighing individuals' relative preferences for privacy
     and everything else than bureaucratic rules could ever be."

  * "There's no privacy in public."

  * "We favor limited access."

  * "Privacy in these systems has not emerged as a national issue."

                [ Submissions that would be interesting to the general
                  readership of the PRIVACY Forum would also be very
                  welcome here.  -- MODERATOR ]

Date:    Mon, 22 Apr 1996 23:31:02 -0700
From:    akrause@Sunnyside.COM (Audrie Krause)
Subject: Wiretap concerns in terrorism bill

To CPSR members and friends,

The following post to CPSR's Cyber-Rights discussion list concerns the
wiretap provisions in the terrorism bill that just passed Congress.  This
and other important issues regarding our rights in cyberspace are discussed
regularly on the Cyber-Rights discussion list.
                                * * * * *

To subscribe to cyber-rights, send a message to:
The body of the message should say:   subscribe cpsr-cyber-rights (your name)

To unsubscribe from cpsr-announce, send a message to:
The body of the message should say:  unsubscribe cpsr-announce

                                * * * * *

(Introduction from moderator: cyber-rights intersect with other
rights, and the terrorism bill that President Clinton is pushing so
hard for definitely affects cyber-rights issues like wiretapping.  So
I am taking a news item from the ACLU News 04-17-96.  Incidentally,
the EFF newsletter I posted yesterday also commented briefly on the

              ACLU Alerts House That Significant Wiretap Provisions
               Remain in Conference Report on Terrorism Legislation

WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union today alerted  members of
the House of Representatives that significant wiretap provisions remain in
the terrorism legislation now making its way through Congress.

Despite assurances to the contrary by House and Senate leadership, the ACLU
said that the current conference version of the terrorism bill includes two
significant expansions of wiretap powers for government law enforcement
agents while also removing prohibitions on eavesdropping by private parties.

In their desire to hide the wiretap provisions from concerned members of the
House, the conference leaders went to such extremes as to subtly change
wording in the conference report, the ACLU said.  Section 731 of the House
Bill, for example, was titled "Exclusion of Certain Types of Information from
Wiretap-Related Definitions." While the conference committee deleted the
words "wiretap-related," it left the wiretap provisions unchanged, the ACLU

The ACLU also pointed to another provision deeply buried in the conference
report that would require banks  to freeze assets of domestic groups and U.S.
citizens if there is any reason, however vague, to believe that the
organization or individual is an "agent" of a designated foreign terrorist

In addition, the ACLU said that the terrorism conference report includes yet
another provision added at the last minute that would federalize state law to
an even greater extent than either version of the corresponding sections of
the House and Senate bills sent to conference.

"Taken together, these provisions should cause members of the House to have
deep concerns about the terrorism bill as they face a final vote," said
Gregory T. Nojeim, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "Dangerous and largely hidden
changes have been made in this bill. We ask that members of the House vote
against this legislation to protect our nation's liberties well into the next

"This bill," Nojeim added, "would do nothing to make safer, but would, in
effect, add the Bill of Rights and our nation's liberty to the list of
casualties of the tragic bombing in Oklahoma City."

 Posted by Andrew Oram  - - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
   CyberJournal:  (WWW or FTP) -->
 Materials may be reposted in their _entirety_ for non-commercial use.
Audrie Krause          CPSR Executive Director
PO Box 717   *   Palo Alto, CA     *     94302
Phone: (415) 322-3778   *  Fax: (415) 322-4748
*    *     E-mail:     *    *
 *  Web Page: *


Date:    1 May 1996 18:17:10 -0500
From:    "David Sobel" <>
Subject: Crypto Legislation

FOR RELEASE:                             CONTACT:
Thursday, May 2, 1996                    David Sobel
8:00 a.m. EDT                            Dave Banisar
                                         (202) 544-9240


WASHINGTON, DC -- The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) 
today applauded the introduction of legislation designed to relax 
export controls on privacy-enhancing encryption technology.  The 
"Promotion of Commerce On-Line in the Digital Era (Pro-CODE) Act," 
introduced by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), would place export control 
authority in the Commerce Department, rather than the State 
Department and the National Security Agency (NSA) -- the agencies 
currently charged with that responsibility.  

The proposed bill would remove out-dated barriers to the 
development and dissemination of software and hardware with 
encryption capabilities.  According to EPIC Legal Counsel David 
Sobel, "This is a necessary step to ensure the development of a 
secure Global Information Infrastructure that promotes on-line 
commerce and preserves individual privacy.  EPIC has long 
advocated adoption of encryption policies that emphasize the 
protection of personal data and encourage the widespread 
dissemination of privacy-enhancing technologies."

The proposed legislation comes in the midst of an ongoing debate 
concerning U.S. encryption policy and at a time when the need for 
secure electronic communications is becoming widely recognized. 
The explosive growth of the Internet underscores the need for 
policies that encourage the development and use of robust security 
technologies to protect sensitive personal and commercial 
information in the digital environment.  

EPIC recently joined with other organizations to create the 
Internet Privacy Coalition (IPC).  The mission of the IPC is to 
promote privacy and security on the Internet through widespread 
public availability of strong encryption and the relaxation of 
export controls on cryptography.  The IPC has launched the "Golden 
Key Campaign" to raise public awareness of these issues.  
Additional information is available at the IPC website:
EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C.    
It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging 
civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First 
Amendment, and constitutional values.  Additional information 
about EPIC is available at


Date:    Fri, 3 May 1996 00:16:36 -0700
From:    akrause@Sunnyside.COM (Audrie Krause)
Subject: Open Letter to Internet Community From Senator Burns

CPSR Members and Supporters,

U.S. Senator Conrad Burns is asking the Internet community to support
legislation that would promote the development and use of encryption
technology.  CPSR is a member of the Internet Privacy Coalition (IPC),
which supports this legislation.  For more information on IPC, visit the
CPSR web page at:

To receive alerts about encryption legislation, send a message to:
The body of the message should say: subscribe IPC-announce

To unsubscribe to this cpsr-announce list, send a message to:
The body of the message should say: unsubscribe cpsr-announce




     May 2, 1996

     Dear friends:

     As an Internet user, you are no doubt aware of some of the hurdles the
     federal government has put up that limit the growth and full potential
     of exciting, emerging technologies.  One of the most egregious of
     these has been the governmentally set limits on so-called "encryption"
     technologies.  Today I am introducing a bill to address this major
     problem for businesses and users of the Internet.

     If the telecommunications law enacted this year is a vehicle to
     achieve real changes in the ways we interact with each other
     electronically, my bill is the engine that will allow this vehicle to
     move forward.  The bill would promote the growth of electronic
     commerce, encourage the widespread availability to strong privacy and
     security technologies for the Internet, and repeal the out-dated
     regulations prohibiting the export of encryption technologies.

     This legislation is desperately needed because the Clinton
     administration continues to insist on restricting encryption exports,
     without regard to the harm this policy has on American businesses'
     ability to compete in the global marketplace or the ability of
     American citizens to protect their privacy online.  Until we get the
     federal government out of the way and encourage the development of
     strong cryptography for the global market, electronic commerce and the
     potential of the Internet will not be realized.

     The last thing the Net needs are repressive and outdated regulations
     prohibiting the exports of strong privacy and security tools and
     making sure that the government has copies of the keys to our private
     communications.  Yet this is exactly the situation we have today.

     My new bill, the Promotion of Commerce On-Line in the Digital Era
     (Pro-CODE) Act of 1996, would:

     - Allow for the unrestricted export of "mass-market" or
     "public-domain" encryption programs, including such products as Pretty
     Good Privacy and popular World Wide Web browsers.

     - Require the Secretary of Commerce to allow the unrestricted export
     of other encryption technologies if products of similar strength are
     generally available outside the United States.

     - Prohibit the federal government from imposing mandatory key-escrow
     encryption policies on the domestic market and limit the authority of
     the Secretary of Commerce to set standards for encryption products.

     Removing export controls will dramatically increase the domestic
     availability of strong, easy-to-use privacy and security products and
     encourage the use of the Internet as a forum of secure electronic
     commerce. It will also undermine the Clinton Administration's
     "Clipper" proposals which have used export restrictions as leverage to
     impose policies that guarantee government access to our encryption

     The Pro-CODE bill is similar to a bill I co-authored with Senator
     Patrick Leahy of Vermont, except that it highlights the importance of
     encryption to electronic commerce and the need to dramatically change
     current policy to encourage its growth.  My bill does not add any new
     criminal provisions and does not establish legal requirements for
     key-escrow agents.

     Over the coming months, I plan to hold hearings on this bill and
     encourage a public debate on the need to change the Clinton
     Administration's restrictive export control policies.  I will need
     your support as we move forward towards building a global Internet
     that is good for electronic commerce and privacy.  I look forward to
     working with the Internet community, online activists, and the
     computer and communications industry as this proposal moves through

     I'd like to hear from you, so please join me on two upcoming online
     events to talk about the new bill.  The first is on America Online in
     the News Room auditorium at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 6.
     The second will be on Hotwired's Chat at 9 p.m. EDT on May 13.

     In the meantime, I need your help in supporting the effort to repeal
     cryptography export controls.  You can find out more by visiting my
     web page  There you will find a
     collection of encryption education resources that my Webmaster has
     assembled.  I trust that the entire Internet community, from the
     old-timers to those just starting to learn about encryption, will find
     this information useful.

     This bill is vital to all Americans, from everyday computer users and
     businesses to manufacturers of computer software and hardware.  I very
     much look forward to working with you on this issue.

     Conrad Burns
     United States Senator


(The following program announcement comes from a CDT Policy Post.
Email me if you want the whole newsletter, which discusses the current
attempts to legalize encryption export.--Andy)


In an effort to bring the Internet Community into the debate and encourage
members of Congress to work with the on vital Internet policy
issues, Senator Burns and Senator Leahy will participate in live, online
discussions of the new legislation. CDT and VTW, who are helping to
coordinate these events, will publish the transcripts of the sessions and
encourage Netizens to participate.

Please join Senator Burns live online to discuss the Pro-CODE bill on:


  Note that you will have to join AOL participate in this chat. (If you
  aren't currently an AOL member, you can obtain the software by either
  a) finding one of those pervasive free floppy disks, or b) by using
  ftp to get it from ftp (

* MONDAY, MAY 13 AT 9:00 ET AT HotWired's CLUB WIRED

  Visit for more information.

Senator Leahy will also conduct sessions on America Online and HotWired in
the next several weeks, dates and times are TBA (visit for updates)

Audrie Krause          CPSR Executive Director
PO Box 717   *   Palo Alto, CA     *     94302
Phone: (415) 322-3778   *  Fax: (415) 322-4748
*    *     E-mail:     *    *
 *  Web Page: *


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