Fun_People Archive
19 Nov
HP Boycott

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 96 18:04:18 -0800
To: Fun_People
Subject: HP Boycott

From: Keith Moore <>

Hewlett-Packard today introduced technology that allows them to ship strong
cryptographic hardware outside of the US.
(See )

There's just one catch -- the hardware isn't usable without a license
(called a "policy activation token") from the US government, and perhaps
from a foreign government as well.  The token, which is cryptographically
signed and thus difficult to forge, is required before the encryption
features of the chip are enabled. It can even selectively enable different
cryptographic algorithms according to the current whims of the US and local

HP is thus supporting the Clinton administration's goal of denying citizens
of cyberspace -- both in the US and oversees -- the right to communicate in
private. Never mind the First Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing
the rights of free speech and free association; never mind the Fourth
Amendment guaranteeing the right to be secure in one's papers. You can say
whatever you like, but the FBI and the NSA and local law enforcement must
be able to listen in!

The policies of the US and other governments are as offensive and
intolerable as the British Tea taxes of 1773 -- and they needs to be
addressed in a similar way.


I am therefore today requesting everyone I know, to refuse to purchase
products made by Hewlett-Packard, and by any other vendor which includes
their technology in their hardware.

I especially request that people here and abroad refuse to purchase products
(from any vendor) that incorporate HP's International Cryptography Framework
(ICF) or Praesidium technology, or any other cryptographic technology which
requires government approval before use.

For those people who believe the government can be trusted -- perhaps this
is true today, in the US. But it is certainly not true everywhere, it has
not always been true even in this country, and it won't be generally true
in the future.

The battle being fought now isn't just for today. It will establish whether
people of the future have the ability to communicate in private.  Government
officals are people, too; they're no more trustworthy than ordinary people,
and they're subject to various pressures that tend to make them worse. If
governments can eavesdrop on people at will, they can more efficiently
silence their enemies -- including those "enemies" that are working for
positive change.

In the 1960's the US government directed CIA agents to infiltrate groups
protesting the Vietnam War and to induce them to start riots. In this way
they were able to severely diminish the effectiveness of the protesters.
Fortunately, the protesters previaled despite the opposition, and the US
government eventually bowed to pressure to end the war. But thanks to new
technology and laws recently passed by Congress, the government will soon
have tremendous capability to eavesdrop on large numbers of people --
including activist groups.

We are far closer to Big Brother than most people realize.
The battle isn't over yet, but the time to act is now.

Keith Moore

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