Denning backs away from GAK

Tim May tcmay at
Fri Aug 1 20:25:09 PDT 1997

At 6:54 PM -0700 8/1/97, Bill Stewart wrote:
>>Tim May writes:
>>> And her "second thoughts" on GAK were not based on a principled
>>> repudiation of the concept of "escrowing" keys, or on Constitutional
>>> grounds, but only on the grounds that her study did not show that many
>>> criminal cases were much affected by the lack of key escrow.
>That's fine - if we wanted people to oppose crypto-censorship on
>moral or political grounds, we could ask the ACLU or EFF or CypherpunkCabal.
>Professor Denning's position has never been that eavesdropping and
>key escrow are required on the grounds of principle - it's
>Louis Freeh's job to say "we can't go upsetting Law Enforcement's
>traditional ability to eavesdrop on you, that'd be UnAmerican".
>Her important contributions to the Bad Guys' position has been to say that
>"Law enforcement needs your keys because there's no practical alternative",
>which reinforces the FBI's and NSA's arguments.  Now that she's saying
>"Law enforcement doesn't really need your keys, they're doing just fine
>without them, even in spite of all the insider talks they've given me"
>that knocks the utilitarian leg out from under them.  That's very good.

I disagree. A likely scenaria, I fear, is this:

* Denning's new study gets publicity

* Denning is "redeemed" and gains new influence

* GAK is delayed for this year

* Denning continues her study

* Next year's report finds solid evidence that crypto is being used to
hinder investigations, and has indeed had an effect.

(Hey, even dumb freedom fighters, er, "terrorists," will soon be using
strong crypto in ways that will surely affect investigations....)

* Denning's new conclusions, and her redemption, will generate support for GAK.

Classic "good cop, bad cop" and "bait and switch."

We've discussed this before. Just as the CDA was best attacked on
constitutional or basic issues, and not on whether porn was or was not
available on the Net, so, too, should GAK be attacked on constitutional or
basic issues, not on whether investigations have or have not been affected
by crypto.

Those who live by utilitarian arguments will die by utilitarian arguments.

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay at  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."

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