No Subject

Perry E. Metzger pmetzger at
Sat Mar 12 05:42:41 PST 1994

rishab at says:
> > > if the clipper chip passed.  what's stopping
> > > corrupt government people from selling access
> > > to the encryption to the highest bidders to spy
> > > on competitors communications.
> > Nothing.
> What stops a *corrupt* government from shooting you if you dissent?

The knowledge that in the U.S. there would be riots and quite possibly
a revolt.

> You have to assume *some* degree of respect of laws or the constitution; the
> fact is that those in power, *when* in power, could possibly ignore all laws.

You understand only half the problem. You must design a government
such that even if the government chose to ignore most of its own laws
it could not do much harm. The original U.S. constitution set up a
government that was extremely limited in its power, and thus could
not, say, screw up agriculture because it had no power to regulate
agriculture. The government was SO limited that it could not do much
harm even if it went crazy. 

Right now, it would be very difficult for the government to
systematically monitor all conversations made by a set of dissidents.
Given the FBI Digital Telephony proposal, and Clipper, they would be
able to assure that this operation would be childs play into the
forseeable future. This is a big change. Before, a corrupt government
could not have used the phone system as a weapon without incurring
prohibitive expense -- only a small number of conversations could be
monitored, and soon cryptography would stop that. With these
proposals, they need never fear cryptography would get in the way and
they can do mass monitoring.

The important point is that before a corrupt government would have had
limits to what it could do, and if these initiatives take root, they
will have no limits.


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