Don't Give Federal Cops E-Mail Keys

By Pritchett, Kevin | Insight on the News, November 18, 1996 | Go to article overview

Don't Give Federal Cops E-Mail Keys


Pritchett, Kevin, Insight on the News


Like the ghoulish cryptkeeper in the TV series Tales From the Crypt, the Clinton administration's flawed cryptography policy refuses to die. Recently, though, the administration has attempted to mandate its policy by fiat. When Congress returns early next year, overturning this bad decision should be the first order of business.

Administration sources have said the president likely will sign an executive order jump-starting the administration's new encryption policy over the strenuous objections of the computer industry and Congress.

U.S. companies only can export programs with "40-bit" key lengths. A "key" is used to close or open, encrypt or decrypt digital data. The longer the key, the better. Think of Passwords. A snooper would have an easier time breaking into your computer or reading your E-mail if the password were "Tom" than if the password were all the letters in the "Star-Spangled Banner" strung together.

The administration's plan allows a company to export "56-bit" key-length software for two years, provided that the company is approved by the Commerce and Justice departments. The company must tell Commerce its plan to implement "key recovery" in its products so that the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies win be able to decode the information.

Encryption is not just an issue for computer jocks: It is used in the manufacture of everything from World Wide Web browsers to cellular phones. As Internet commerce grows, more people will rely on encryption to protect personal data such as credit-card numbers.

This new initiative recalls the administrations previous efforts to push "snooper" technology: its campaign to have computer companies use the "Clipper" encryption chip (see Symposium, Oct. 24, 1994) - deemed safe by the government but cracked by hackers, elicited guffaws as well as grimaces from the industry.

What foreign individual, corporation or government will buy U.S. software if U.S. agencies can decrypt their data or read their Internet traffic? U.S. companies know that a key recovery system, even if it could be implemented effectively, puts them at a disadvantage worldwide.

The Business Software Alliance, a coalition of high-technology companies, says that more than 500 foreign-encryption programs are available from 21 countries, and more are being created every minute. Japanese companies such as Nippon Telephone and Telegraph - the world's largest telecommunications firm - are poised to take control of the worldwide market for digital cellular-phone encryption. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Don't Give Federal Cops E-Mail Keys
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.