Re: From Inter@ctive Week: Denning no longer backing key escrow?

The Low Golden Willow (
Mon, 2 Jun 1997 18:23:38 -0700 (PDT)

Forwarded from the cryptography list; probably on cypherpunks as well.

} Subject: From Inter@ctive Week: Denning no longer backing key escrow?
} Here's an interesting question:
} What happens when your star technical witness tells others she's no longer
} your witness at all?
} Denning now says she has doubts...
} (Responses? I'm no longer on cypherpunks, so mail me directly.
} Cheers
} - Will
} Administration Supporter Having Second Thoughts On Encryption Plan
} By Will Rodger 1:30 PM EDT
} Nixon went to China. Constantine converted to Christianity. Napoleon crowned
} himself emperor.
} So why can't Dorothy Denning be a cypherpunk?
} That's the question encryption mavens ask as the Georgetown University
} computer scientist slowly lets the word out: She won't back government plans
} for key recovery, key escrow or anything else alleged to increase national
} security until backers show that the benefits of controls on encryption
} outweighs those of letting free market forces govern its use.
} That's a far cry from the way she once talked about encryption technology. As
} recently as this year Denning was pegged as a strong backer of keeping
} controls on a wide range of computer-security products.
} "Maybe export controls should be lifted," Denning said. "But I'm not saying
} that all controls should be lifted. I've gotten into a state where I don't
} know and I'm not sure that I ever knew."
} Denning may be the only prominent cryptographer to support government control
} of encryption technology, the underlying technology behind nearly all
} Internet security devices that scramble information so even the wiliest
} hacker is powerless to decode it. As the author of the first widely read
} textbook on the subject, her opinion carries weight with at least some in the
} encryption community.
} Since encryption can be used to defeat lawful wiretaps and other electronic
} searches and seizures, Denning backed law enforcement as it tried to fight
} encryption's spread abroad.
} But now a host of objections to the Clinton administration's plan have turned
} the argument on its head. As the Internet becomes more popular for business
} use, encryption is more important than ever to keep hackers out. And a recent
} cryptographer's report suggesting that it would be far riskier to give
} governments spare keys to decode messages in a few places than not to have
} third party access at all has clearly shaken Denning's confidence.
} Policy specialists in Washington and elsewhere have speculated that Denning
} would announce something soon, but none wants to push her for fear of
} alienating someone who could end up a potent ally.
} "I don't think any close scientific observer of this debate can deny that
} there are real technical concerns raised by the Administration's position,"
} said Alan Davidson, counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology.
} "I think its just best for us to sit back and not say anything at this
} point," added another prominent activist. "We don't want to force her hand."
} Will Denning go over to the other side?
} "I'm not advocating anything anymore," Denning said. "I support what the
} administration is doing because I really see them struggling with these
} things."
} Version: 5.0
} Charset: noconv
} iQEVAwUBM5NE+EcByjT5n+LZAQHgzgf9FLHCAw4aw6wETKtsaK7WVmbyYMhMWaW5
} hPXl21Xl24XioSm3xMjvvjWXfqZyn1rIX+hD7awVVevoRLjHsSC9LM4YwxW9pq+U
} EiXPjrciK65xxaIqaj3o5cI53QWWDHQN3+p++WUu2/d1+5b9xq2u4C5V9Jb4Jkld
} RCLh65nxe/mxTgvPBYZkuBwVn6WpuWPyQvbNMkmptMOgil4WYx3tiXNtJBz9GTZR
} t83g2tvfIz8c5Wz0Grc8Ln3pXckiQmko7e5zU2bH1/MPtPnUwwZav+xbCvkL/KAd
} qMZmzgVVR8EUIYkevPHuflmius4LY1m2SAAEmcs9R5Ont72sa0iFBw==
} =sDTa
} Will Rodger
} Washington Bureau Chief
} Inter@ctive Week
} A Ziff-Davis Publication
}-- End of excerpt from Will Rodger