Clipper (Re: Dorothy Denning)
kinney at bogart.Colorado.EDU
Wed Mar 2 14:46:42 PST 1994
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> I think this is very perceptive. Clipper is perhaps the best
> they could _think_ of given an outmoded set of axioms.
Bill Stewart writes:
>I disagree. My opinion is that the axioms involved are
>1) We're in power, and want to stay there.
>2) Some kinds of technology greatly enhance our power if we control them.
>3) Crypto Technology is a major threat to our power unless we control it.
Looks to me like we substantially agree with one another, actually.
I might, however, throw out an additional concept, which, to me at least,
is a very significant consideration. The basic reasoning of our government
with regard to individual rights has always been that rights are agreed on
by society as a whole, and one of the social roles of government is to act
both as protector and _arbiter_ of those rights. I think this shows through
every time somebody talks about "trade-offs" -- this is government acting
as arbiter, trying to enforce an assumed role as the body charged with
deciding what rights _mean_ in a practical social context.
Under many circumstances, this is an appropriate role: the government acts
to protect free speech more often than it acts to suppress it, for
instance. But the spooky illogic of Clipper comes, I think, from this model
of rights as things the government can, but doesn't take away from its
citizens. Cryptography breaks this paradigm, because privacy becomes
something posessed by the citizen independent of the government's good
will. Clipper is an effort to restore the traditional paradigm, to return
the government quite literally to its traditional role of "keeper of the
keys". It is a failure to recognize that the rules of the world are
changing, and a failure to adapt.
This is more frightening in a lot of ways than any "Nixon-esque" intrigue
could ever be.
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
More information about the cypherpunks-legacy