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Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 5 Dec 2000

From: Tony Reeves
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Encryption Keys

The issues raised by you and the Herald article are of
concern to us all.  I believe that the only way that PKI or
any other form of certificate management is for Private Keys
to be held and owned (in all senses of the word) by the
person or entity that they are bound to.  Under no
circumstances should private keys be lawfully passed to any
other person as that would significantly compromise the
infrastructure.  As you and others point out, there is no
way that Police, or any other Goverment agency, access to
information can be considered highly secure.

If the current legislative changes really intend to benefit
the citizens of New Zealand they should absolutely prohibit
access to private keys by anyone other than the person that
they are bound to and the same legislation should provide
for very harsh penalties if breached.  Such legislation
could significantly increase the attactiveness of NZ as a
base for E-Commerce, but I will not hold my breath waiting
for it to happen.

Bernhard Pfahringer
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Forced encryption key disclosure

Absolutely ridiculous. Any reasonable democracy grants its
citizens the right to stay silent if a response would be
self-incriminating. And as always, it will just hit the
not so smart. The smart crooks will use multiple keys and
messages hidden in large files for the really important
stuff, hand over the key to some fake message and go

Besides, this law is perfect to setup somebody:
just put some encrypted stuff onto their computer (easy for
I suppose 90% of all net-connected machines), anonymously
tip off the authorities that that person possesses
"objectionable" material on their computer, and then see how
they try to explain that they cannot hand over the key,
because they don't even know it. Perfect to get rid of all
aspiring politicians that you don't like (i.e. the
opposition if you are in government).

From: Richard Stevenson
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: BCC "bug"

Oh, please!

While no Microsoft apologist (most people consider me a
rabid Microsoft-basher), I have to correct the notion that
this behaviour is a bug.  RFC 822 explicitly states that the
behaviour of the BCC: header is implementation-dependent.
This is frequently misrepresented in the mainstream press,
so I was surprised to see the same misunderstanding in
Aardvark.  Quoting from the RFC:

4.5.3.  BCC / RESENT-BCC

This field contains the identity of additional  recipients
of the  message.   The contents of this field are not
included in copies of the message sent to the primary and
secondary  recipients.   Some  systems  may choose to
include the text of the "Bcc" field only in the author(s)'s
copy,  while  others  may also include it in the text sent
to all those indicated in the "Bcc" list.

From: Michael
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990

I can see one problem our polititions are going to have is
the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 in which it states
that we have the right not to incriminate ourselves.  We
also have the right to be deemed innocent until proven
guilty. Thus the powers that be must prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that we are guilty before they can get to

I also have a nice letter from Minister of Justice, Hon
Phil Goff confirming that there is no law that the
government can force you to sign any document.

But all in all I wouldn't expect the government to listen
to us.  I'd actually expect them to pass any laws right
around the time most of the politicians and likely oponents
are on Christmas holiday.  Just like a previous governments
have done.

I'd also expect them to use this snooping legislation to be
used to divert attention away from other changes, as the
LTSA did with the drivers licence.  The LTSA changed some
very significant provisions at exactly the same time that
it introduced new licences.

It's quite interesting that the LTSA has the same rights
and powers as a natural person, according to the act.  But
it seems in New Zealand natural people don't really have
any rights, or powers.  We are just pawns of the system.

From: Rob K
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: My reasonable may not equal Your reasonable

What is reasonable?

If I'm paranoid, my reasonable may not equal your
reasonable.  If I'm a politician, then my reasonable
definitely will not equal your reasonable.

What is a reasonable intrusion or loss of privacey in the
name of the greater good?  Is this the former Soviet Union?
Is this Nazi Germany? Do we have a secret police in the
Internet that no one knows about?

I don't know about you, but I've got enough of these
problems at work!  Our computers are monitored 100% of the
time.  All email, all web surfing, all work, etc. 100% of
the time. It's all record commumnication.

Also, secure email with Outlook?! ABSOLUTELY!  All you have
to do is have a completely physically separate network with
no interconnectivity with the internet.  You do this with
either a point to point topography or a closed intranet.

There is no other way.

Oh... and email is record communication.  That means
there's a record of it for the world to see!

Rob K
Baton Rouge, LA

From: David Buckingham
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Encyption

Giving free access to the government to protected
information does two things:

1. It allows the government to abuse the use of the
information obtained

2. Uses up resources which should be used running after
real criminals who are not going to give access to their
protected communications anyway!

Now Have Your Say

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