Encryption: Privacy versus National Security

explanatory Essay
2486 words
2486 words

Abstract: The use of encryption by individuals is growing at a tremendous rate, and since 1991 cryptography issues have engulfed both the U.S. government as well as the computing industry. One of the most controversial of these issues is whether encryption should be made supremely secure to the highest-level current technology will allow, or whether a "master key" should be locked away somewhere, only to be used when absolutely justified. Both sides of the issue have their benefits and detriments; the problem is finding the middle ground that will provide the greatest benefit to society. In the past decade, rapid advances have been made in the field of cryptography. These advances have brought considerable attention to encryption policies in the United States from three large groups: the government, the computing industry and researchers in the field. With old faithful encryption standards quickly becoming obsolete, new standards are currently being proposed by each group. However, the government has its own interest in mind in its standards, and the computing industry and researchers have an opposite idea as to how encryption should be implemented. Thus, the issue is trying to find a new standard that will be accepted by both groups, and ultimately will be a benefit to all individuals. Specifically stated by Kevin Bowyer, "Individuals should have just as great an assurance of privacy. Law enforcement should have at least the same effective ability to conduct surveillance. The U.S. computing industry should compete at least as effectively in global markets. And, national governments should have no less ability to regulate what happens inside their nation." [1] Before the 1990s, th... ... middle of paper ... ...ay 8, 1998 4. Schwartz, John. One High-End PC Cracks Data-Scrambling System, The Washing Post, July18, 1998 5. Nechvatal et al. Report on the Development of the Advanced Encryption Standard James National Institute of Standards and Technology, October 2, 2000 6. Baker, Stewart. Don't Worry Be Happy, Wired Magazine, Jun 1994 7. Encryption: Impact on Law Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, June 3, 1999, pps. 7-8 8. Rivest, Ronald L. The Case against Regulating Encryption Technology, Scientific American, October 1998. pps. 116--117. 9. Kolata, Gina. The Key Vanishes: Scientist Outlines Unbreakable Code, New York Times, February 20, 2001 10. U.S. Supreme Court, Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438, 1928. 11. Schneier, Bruce. Cryptography: The Importance of Not Being Different, IEEE Computer, Vol. 32, No. 3, March 1999. pps. 108-109

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that encryption is growing at a tremendous rate, and cryptography issues have engulfed both the u.s. government and the computing industry since 1991.
  • Explains that advances in cryptography have brought attention to encryption policies in the united states from three large groups: the government, the computing industry, and researchers. the issue is trying to find a new standard that will be accepted by both groups.
  • Explains that before the 1990s, the encryption issue was straightforward; government, computing industry, and researchers were satisfied with the worldwide data encryption standard.
  • Explains that the government is concerned about the implications of securely encrypted communications, and the computing public is losing faith in des.
  • Explains that the government proposed the escrowed encryption standard in 1993, which encrypted messages in two stages.
  • Opines that although the computing industry has been hostile towards key escrow and key recovery systems, such standards do not provide some benefits. the government needs to be able to continue to protect this country from domestic and foreign enemies.
  • Opines that the world will be safer if criminals cannot take advantage of a ubiquitous, standardized encryption infrastructure that is immune from any conceivable law enforcement wiretap.
  • Explains that illegal wiretapping by a rogue prosecutor or police officer is impossible. the use of encryption by criminals is increasing greatly.
  • Explains that the fbi laboratory division's computer analysis and response team has seen the number of cases utilizing encryption and/or password protection increase from two percent to approximately twenty percent over the past four years.
  • Explains that the new operating system will allow users to employ an encrypted file system which will provide the individual computerusers with easy to use "point and click" encryption thereby enabling criminals and terrorists to easily encrypt all of the files stored on their computer.
  • Explains that key escrow systems have been rejected by the computing industry because they add a substantial security risk.
  • Explains that key recovery systems are less secure, more costly, and difficult to use than similar systems without a recovery feature. massive deployment of key-recovery-based infrastructures will require significant sacrifices insecurity and convenience and substantially increase costs to all users of encryption.
  • Opines that the scale and complexity that would be required for such ascheme is beyond the experience and current competency of the field and may introduce ultimately unacceptable risks and costs.
  • Explains that the computing industry and researchers are moving towards new algorithms that provide "everlasting security".
  • Opines that dr. rubin's algorithm provides ultimate privacy to every individual. every law-abiding person should have the right to keep their private conversations private, forever.
  • Explains that they conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone. every unjustifiable intrusion bythe government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever themeans employed, must be deemed a violation.
  • Opines that a new encryption system would be risky, since criminals could communicate without the fear of ever incriminating themselves. schneier argues that security companies are blinded by shiny new cryptography.
  • Opines that the aes proposal suggests a compromise that will provide the greatest utility to all.
  • Cites bowyer, kevin, h. abelson, and schwartz, john. the risks of key recovery, key escrow and trusted third party encryption.
  • Cites baker, stewart, rivest, ronald l., kolata, gina and olmstead v. u.s.
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