key escrow arguments

Ron Resnick (
Fri, 19 Sep 1997 11:37:23 +0200

Culled from RRE. Phil posted an article by Andrew Grosso, a
crypto-sympathetic lawyer, apparently. I didn't like the whole
thing, but this quoted paragraph summed up the key issue
quite nicely, I thought.

At least for Americans, the issues of public/private rights
balancing have
been a matter of record, law, and precedent for centuries. For most
of the world, though, there is no such sacred tradition of
balance. What to do, oh what to do?


> Our constitution is based upon the concept of ordered
>liberty. That is, there is a balance between law and order, on the
>one hand, and the liberty of the individual on the other. This is
>clearly seen in our country's bill of rights, and the constitutional
>protections afforded our accused: evidence improperly obtained is
>suppressed; there is a ban on the use of involuntary custodial
>interrogation, including torture, and any questioning of the accused
>without a lawyer; we require unanimous verdicts for convictions;
>and double jeopardy and bills of attainder are prohibited. In other
>words, our system of government expressly tolerates a certain level
>of crime and disorder in order to preserve liberty and individuality.

Doggone right. Anarchy is built right into the system. Heisenberg
says so.

>It is difficult to conceive that the same constitution which is
>prepared to let a guilty man go free, rather than admit an illegally
>seized murder weapon into evidence at trial, can be interpreted to
>permit whole scale, nationwide, mandatory surveillance of our
>nation's telecommunications system for law enforcement purposes.
>It is impossible that the philosophy upon which our system of
>government was founded could ever be construed to accept such a

Hmm. If it's 'impossible' (which legally means unconstitutional),
what chance is there that an ammended SAFE act would ever survive
a Supreme Court challenge? Maybe, like the CDA, this really doesn't
matter once the courts toss it out?