Fun_People Archive
14 Feb
Vice President Says Clipper Chip Controls Inadequate

Date: Mon, 14 Feb 94 17:02:21 PST
To: Fun_People
Subject: Vice President Says Clipper Chip Controls Inadequate

 From: bostic@vangogh.CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
 From: jayne levin <>

Permission granted to repost the following in its entirety.

Jayne Levin                                           Net Week Inc.
Editor                                  220 National Press Building
The Internet Letter                     Washington, D.C. 20045  USA
+1 202 638 6020                                Fax: +1 202 638 6019

              T H E   I N T E R N E T   L E T T E R 

                    *******NEWS FLASH*******

Vice President Says Clipper Chip Controls Inadequate
Gore Indicates Administration's Position Is 'Not Locked in Stone' 

By Jayne Levin
(c) 1994

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 11--Vice President Gore said controls
recently adopted by the Clinton administration that authorize
two government agencies to safeguard the electronic "keys" in an
encoding device called the "Clipper Chip" are inadequate. 
    Under the Clipper plan, the keys would be stored at the
Treasury Department and the National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST), which is part of the Commerce Department.
Both Treasury and Commerce are from the same branch of
government, the executive branch. 
    "When I saw that I said, 'Wow. Wow. That is not right,' and
I raised hell about that," Gore said in an interview Thursday. 
    Having the key holders from the same branch of government
raises concern because there is no system of checks and
balances, Gore said. "That's going to be changed," he said.
Clipper gives law-enforcement agencies a key to eavesdrop on
telephone and computer communications under a court order. 
    The selection of NIST and Treasury "was spun out of the
process at the low level and was not vetted at the top," Gore
said. Gore's comments were made after appearing before the first
meeting of a private sector advisory panel on the development of
a "national information infrastructure" in Washington, D.C.
    The administration announced Feb. 4 that it intends to push
ahead with the voluntary Clipper Chip encryption scheme, despite
vehement opposition from computer companies and watchdog groups,
such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. 
    But Gore indicated Thursday that the administration's
position is "not locked in stone."
    "Our determination to solve the problem is locked in stone,
and our determination to proceed with this in the absence of a
better solution is locked in stone," he said "...the burden is
on those who say there is a better solution because no solution
for the national security dimension of the problem is unacceptable
to us."
    Mitch Kapor, EFF chairman and a member of the advisory
committee, said he was "encouraged" by the vice president's
    "This was a signal to me that [the administration] is very
ready and willing to look at alternatives...both to the
administrative procedures and the technology."
    Computer manufacturers, telecommunications companies and
civil rights groups argue that Clipper would undermine
individuals' right to privacy and cripple U.S. exports of
computer products. 
    "If I'm going to conduct business...engage in confidential
conversations...send money and credit card numbers over this
infrastructure, I want some guarantee that my communications are
private and that some rogue law enforcement officer can't go
and compromise my information," said Esther Dyson, president of
EDventure Holdings Inc. and a panel member. *

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []