FWD: Chutzpah! FBI Calls Privacy Extremists Elitist

Donald E. Eastlake 3rd (dee@cybercash.com)
Fri, 26 Sep 1997 14:15:25 -0400 (EDT)

[The following is typical of the NSA and FBI. They know that the techncial
considerations are against them and their proposals will increase crime and
reduce US national security. (But, hey, increased crime means bigger
budgets, bigger police organizations, bigger headlines when you catch some of
the crooks. I guess they think that's a lot better than crime simiply not
happening if people are given the cryptogrpahic tools to protect themselves.)
They know that the legal consideration are against them and their radical
proposal to require everyone in America to conform all of their modern
communications to the convenience of covert spying by the police and spy
agencies throws the US Constitution in th toilet. So they frequently stoop
to dishonesty and personal attacks. The FBI repesentative speaking below
talks as if privacy advocates wanted to repeal existing legislation or claim
no right for the police to try to investigate when they are actaully opposing
the unprecidented new laws being pushed to guarantee success to the police in
covert communciations survellance. In debates between NSA representatives
and advocates of freedom, the NSA people always poke fun, when applciable, at
how their opponents are dressed or how they might have avoid the Vietnam war
draft or how long their hair is, anything to discredit them without have to
actually answer their arguements...

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 23:54:40 -0400
From: David HM Spector <spector@zeitgeist.com>

FBI Calls Privacy Extremists Elitist
(09/25/97; 4:30 p.m. EDT)
By David Braun, TechWire

MONTREAL -- Extremist positions on electronic encryption are not only
threatening to normal law enforcement, but they are also elitist and
nondemocratic, said Alan McDonald, a senior counsel member with the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, at the International Conference on
Privacy in Montreal on Thursday.

Addressing a workshop on how far society should go in trading off
privacy for effective law enforcement, McDonald said privacy activists
had fought any balance in proposed encryption legislation.

"Such absolute positions threaten not only electronic searches but
also conventional searches for data that has been encrypted," McDonald

Absolute positions on privacy were "pernicious on several levels,"
McDonald added.

The absolute positions "handcuffed" law enforcement while also raising
rights for citizens to levels that were unreasonable and that would
have been foreign to the nation's founding fathers. Extreme privacy
positions were ultimately elitist and nondemocratic in that they
presumed the views of a knowing privacy cognoscenti should pre-empt
the views of the nation's elected officials and the Supreme Court,
McDonald said.

McDonald's statements came a day after a key committee of the
U.S. House of Representatives rejected an FBI-supported proposal that
would have compelled the makers of encryption products to include
features that would enable law enforcement agencies to gain immediate
and, if necessary, covert access to unscramble any coded data.

Extremists presumed that the citizens could not trust the elected
government and the Supreme Court to make decisions or to correct
mistakes if any are made, McDonald said.

"Based on a theory of potential government abuse, important tools
commonly used are to be restricted or embargoed," McDonald said.

McDonald said efforts in the United States to enhance effective law
enforcement search and seizure capabilities had proceeded without
harming legitimate privacy concerns.

In the area of electronic surveillance, McDonald said, privacy
enhancements had frequently received treatment "superior to that
required under our Constitution."

With minor exceptions, neither the laws nor the cases decided
regarding effective law enforcement or privacy had come about with the
view that either were absolute in their nature, McDonald said. Law
enforcement measures had been tempered by considerations of personal
privacy, and privacy laws had been balanced with effective law

Notwithstanding the substantial threats posed by national and
international organized crime, drug cartels, and terrorists, the
United States had remained true to its Constitutional moorings, and
its commitment to a system of ordered liberties, McDonald said.

"When people don't know much about electronic surveillance, they are
fearful of it. But when they know Congress passed laws and the Supreme
Court reviewed them and that there are numerous constraints and
procedures, then it makes sense to them. It seems rational and
balanced," McDonald said.

David HM Spector spector@zeitgeist.com
Network Design & Infrastructure Security voice: +1 212.580.7193
Amateur Radio: W2DHM (ex-N2BCA) (ARRL life member) GridSquare: FN30AS
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