EFF Announcement w.r.t. Clipper (please send e-mail)
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 94 16:14:35 PST
Subject: EFF Announcement w.r.t. Clipper (please send e-mail)
[Here I am, once again exacting the price of fun...
(that's almost, but not quite, an apology) -psl]
* DISTRIBUTE WIDELY *
From: vangogh.CS.Berkeley.EDU!bostic (Keith Bostic)
From: email@example.com (Jerry Berman, Executive Director of EFF)
Dear Friends on the Electronic Frontier,
I'm writing a personal letter to you because the time has now come for
action. On Friday, February 4, 1994, the Administration announced that it
plans to proceed on every front to make the Clipper Chip encryption scheme
a national standard, and to discourage the development and sale of
alternative powerful encryption technologies. If the government succeeds
in this effort, the resulting blow to individual freedom and privacy could
As you know, over the last three years, we at EFF have worked to ensure
freedom and privacy on the Net. Now I'm writing to let you know about
something *you* can do to support freedom and privacy. *Please take a
moment to send e-mail to U.S. Rep. Maria Cantwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) to
show your support of H.R. 3627, her bill to liberalize export controls on
encryption software.* I believe this bill is critical to empowering
ordinary citizens to use strong encryption, as well as to ensuring that
the U.S. software industry remains competitive in world markets.
Here are some facts about the bill:
Rep. Cantwell introduced H.R. 3627 in the House of Representatives on
November 22, 1993. H.R. 3627 would amend the Export Control Act to move
authority over the export of nonmilitary software with encryption
capabilities from the Secretary of State (where the intelligence community
traditionally has stalled such exports) to the Secretary of Commerce. The
bill would also invalidate the current license requirements for
nonmilitary software containing encryption capablities, unless there is
substantial evidence that the software will be diverted, modified or
re-exported to a military or terroristic end-use.
If this bill is passed, it will greatly increase the availability of
secure software for ordinary citizens. Currently, software developers do
not include strong encryption capabilities in their products, because the
State Department refuses to license for export any encryption technology
that the NSA can't decipher. Developing two products, one with less secure
exportable encryption, would lead to costly duplication of effort, so even
software developed for sale in this country doesn't offer maximum
security. There is also a legitimate concern that software companies will
simply set up branches outside of this country to avoid the export
restrictions, costing American jobs.
The lack of widespread commercial encryption products means that it will
be very easy for the federal government to set its own standard--the
Clipper Chip standard. As you may know, the government's Clipper Chip
initiative is designed to set an encryption standard where the government
holds the keys to our private conversations. Together with the Digital
Telephony bill, which is aimed at making our telephone and computer
networks "wiretap-friendly," the Clipper Chip marks a dramatic new effort
on the part of the government to prevent us from being able to engage in
truly private conversations.
We've been fighting Clipper Chip and Digital Telephony in the policy arena
and will continue to do so. But there's another way to fight those
initiatives, and that's to make sure that powerful alternative encryption
technologies are in the hands of any citizen who wants to use them. The
government hopes that, by pushing the Clipper Chip in every way short of
explicitly banning alternative technologies, it can limit your choices for
Here's what you can do:
I urge you to write to Rep. Cantwell today at email@example.com. In the
Subject header of your message, type "I support HR 3627." In the body of
your message, express your reasons for supporting the bill. EFF will
deliver printouts of all letters to Rep. Cantwell. With a strong showing
of support from the Net community, Rep. Cantwell can tell her colleagues
on Capitol Hill that encryption is not only an industry concern, but also
a grassroots issue. *Again: remember to put "I support HR 3627" in your
This is the first step in a larger campaign to counter the efforts of
those who would restrict our ability to speak freely and with privacy.
Please stay tuned--we'll continue to inform you of things you can do to
promote the removal of restrictions on encryption.
In the meantime, you can make your voice heard--it's as easy as e-mail.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Executive Director, EFF
P.S. If you want additional information about the Cantwell bill, send
e-mail to email@example.com. To join EFF, write firstname.lastname@example.org.
The text of the Cantwell bill can be found with the any of the following
URLs (Universal Resource Locaters):
© 1994 Peter Langston