First they came for the Fourth Amendment,
But I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t a drug dealer.
Then they came for the Sixth Amendment,
But I remained silent because I wasn’t guilty.
Then they came for the First Amendment,
And then I found it was too late to say anything at all.
In the world of flesh and blood we have an expectation that our conversations are private. Of course, there are court-approved wiretaps, and people in whom you confide may be compelled to testify against you, but in general the established body of law is on the side of granting you privacy. Even in cases where the technology is widely available to eavesdrop, the law prohibits it. (Consider the United States law against the listening in to cell phone conversations.)
Although most of the inhabitants of cyberspace don’t know it (yet), the right to hold a digital conversation in private is not guaranteed to you in the same way as you can reasonably expect to speak in private with a confidante in a public park. Because free military-grade encryption is available to the everyday user the law enforcement community has long lobbied to prevent any digital communications from enjoying the same right of privacy as our other forms.
In a nutshell, their argument is something like this: just as we reserve the right to intercept your voice, telephone, and mail interactions (with the approval of the appropriate legal authority), we must reserve the right to do the same in the digital realm. And because e free military-grade encryption is available to you we must provide some sort of mechanism that would allow us to unscramble it
(with the approval of the appropriate legal authority).
So far, so good. Unfortunately, we’re asked to trust encryption methods that are known to be breakable or to trust that the keepers of the unlock mechanism can be trusted. Herein lies the fight.
On these pages you’ll find information about digital privacy. You’ll also find information about the battle between the United States versus , a tale of intimidation by the powers that be against a man known to be innocent of the charges threatened to be filed against him.
It was a strange time and a strange fight. Here you’ll find mention made of the
key escrow plan.
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