FBI calls for mandatory key escrow; Denning on export ctrls

Declan McCullagh declan at pathfinder.com
Wed Sep 3 22:50:33 UTC 1997

On Wed, 3 Sep 1997, Declan McCullagh wrote:

> FBI Director Louis Freeh also told a Senate Judiciary
> subcommittee that "network service providers should be
> required to have some immediate decryption ability
> available" permitting agents to readily descramble
> encrypted messages that pass through their system.

One last point: here are some excerpts from the transcript that amplify
Freeh's argument about ISPs (and backbone providers?). --Declan


MR. FREEH:  Yes.  I think the legislation has to begin
by requiring the manufacturers to have the feature
available and then take up the larger and maybe more
complex discussion about how that's enabled.  Is it
done voluntary by the user?  Is the network provider
of the service required to have that immediate
decryption ability because they're providing a public
service?  And there's a lot of permutations of that
which we're trying to work through.  But the key
concept - you've hit the nail right on the head,


MR. FREEH:  Senator, just the point that I made
before, that I think it's a worthwhile issue for
discussion to look at whether network service
providers should also be required to have some
immediate decrypting ability to respond to a court
order.  We work, as you know, particularly in the
pedophile cases, with on-line services who give us,
when we run up against encryption, court-authorized
access to information that is the subject of crimes. 
And that deals in many respects with our problem,
particularly as networks proliferate and more and more
people use them for communications.  It also maintains
the court-authorized requirement and it also gives us
the balance that I think is required in a policy
that's going to work.

More information about the NANOG mailing list