Dorothy Denning +1-510-484-6204 wcs at
Tue Mar 1 15:56:51 PST 1994

I objected to Anthony Ortenzi's article on Dorothy Denning.
Much of the attacks seemed appropriate for a politician like Clinton (:-)),
but aren't appropriate for an academic who's doing politics about
technical areas, where there so much more *useful* ways to flame
her ideas, rather than her character.

> Number 1, if someone is an encryption expert [...], why would they endorse
> anyone but the recipient being able to decode the message?

You're confusing technical tactics with political/social goals.
She's an expert in what you can do with encryption, she just has different
values about who should be able to benefit from it and how.

> Number 2.  [Newsday...]
> The argument was just very, well, flimsy is the word I guess.
I thought so too.  Part of it was from writing for a non-technical audience,
but some of her arguments have been appallingly weak.  El Rukn was a 
particularly bad example :-), and as you say, it would be nice if she'd
just come out and say the government should spy on all of us to keep us
from doing Bad Things; it's an argument people can relate to and discuss
(though it'll get a lot of negative reaction, which is not her objective.)

> Anyone know:
> A) Is she an expert in cryptography?
Yes - her book from the early 1980s was *the* standard text on crypto for
quite a few years, and she's published some other reasonable papers.
Dr. Denning is department head of CS or EE or something at Georgetown.

> C) Was she dropped on her head a lot as a baby?
Probably got scared by a Commie Terrorist Drug Dealer, and comforted
by some friendly federal police officer... or else was educated in
government-run schools. :-)

> Also, I've gotten a message through to Ross Perot about our fight
> against Clipper, and how to reach me, so if I get a response, I'll let
Clipper sounds like just the kind of thing Perot would enjoy.


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