Pondering Clipper

James Hicks sonny at netcom.com
Sun Mar 20 08:10:49 PST 1994

Adam Lake <lake at uenics.evansville.edu> says:

-> I have been receiving cypherpunk material for about a week now.  I am new
-> to cryptography, and new to security(feel free to laugh).  I hope this
-> posting is appropriate.. Well enough excuses for what I am about to say
-> but I might like Clipper.

[Don't worry, each individual should be able to make up her/his own mind
regarding issues such as this (ie., individual privacy).]

-> 1.) From what I am hearing (largely propaganda from both sides) Clipper
-> will be OPTIONAL.  If I am businessman X and I dont know squat about

[If the claim that Clipper will be "OPTIONAL" is propaganda, you might want
to take it with a grain of salt.  "OPTIONAL" today might not mean "OPTIONAL"

-> security (but realize it is a good thing) wouldnt I want something I
-> could feel secure with?  For me, wouldnt Clipper be a good thig?

[If you are arguing that ignorance about security is a prerequisite for
considering Clipper to be a good thing, you may be correct.]

-> 2) If, for some reason, I wanted to keep something even more secure so
-> the government couldnt see what I was doing, couldnt I just encrypt a
-> message before or after it goes through the Clipper Chip?  I would think
-> this would prevent the government as well as anyone else from reading my
-> message en route

[If you have the technology at hand to encrypt a message before or after
it goes through the Clipper chip using a method that the government can't
crack, you don't need to spend money (as a prudent businessman) on
Clipper hardware.]

-> 3) Right now I can pick up cellular phone conversations and intercept data
-> through any network lines with a datascope. For anyone who doesnt wan

[Not bad for someone who is "new to security(feel free to laugh)."]

-> this to occur wouldnt it be nice if they couldat least be reasonably
-> certain that no one could understand what they are hearing or seeing?

[Yes. This is why many people don't want Clipper. They want to be
"reasonably certain that no one could understand what they are hearing
or seeing"]

-> 4) Also, would it be unreasonable to have an on/off switch on the Clipper
-> chip?

[I don't know.]

-> Please dont assume me to be a pro-clipper individual.  I am
-> merely trying to form a logical, educated opinion on the issue.  I will
-> always feel skeptical when the FBI say we just need this to maintain our
-> current state of survellience capability (or is that survellience state
-> ;-) And I am also aware that if anybody thinks these keys will be kept
-> confidential unless the government has a warrant blah blah blah well
-> I
-> better stop there..........
-> lake at uenics.evansville.edu


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