Title: encryption,friend or foe for the peopleCategory: ScienceDescription:Body of paper:In the good old days a pad lock was the best thing to have to keep unwanted persons from invading your privacy. Now that we have entered the digital age, it has been more and more difficult to keep our belongings to ourselves. I have never entered to win 10 million dollars before, yet I still might have the win number for it. How, who, and where did they get my information to send me this kind of junk to me? This is just one harmless way our privacy is invaded through the digital age. One topic that is raising question in privacy is the use of the internet. The internet has become an extension of the computers superhighway of information. In fact it lives in and of the net. One main feature of the net is the use of electronic-mail (e-mail ). What people do not understand is the net is open to anyone that can login to a computer with a telephone line hooked up to it. That means anyone with a small degree of computer knowledge can get into another persons computer with a little effort. It can be anything form turning on the persons computer to knowing their password and so on. Keeping valuable information on a computer is very dangerous. Lets just say your a banker. You decide that it would be a lot faster to send a customers account information via e-mail. For one reason or another it gets sent to the wrong place. This kind of information can be very useful to some -one who needs money and knows there way around a bank. This mishap could be very costly to you and your customer. Good thing for you it was encrypted and is unable to be read by the person who received it. Only the person with the encryption key can read that encrypted e-mail. Encryption means the scrambling of wire communications or electronic communications or stored information using a mathematical formulas or algorithms in order to preserve the confidentiality, integrity, or authenticity of such communication or information and prevent recipients from accessing or altering such communications or information s . A key is the latter part of encryption. It decrypts the information that was sent through the net. Encryption is the new pad lock for the digital age. It is one of the tools that people should learn about, if privacy is what you do not want to lose in the chaotic world of growing information. One of the rights we have as U.S. citizen is the right to bear arms. With this right, there also comes a set of rules we have to follow set by the government. In the last decade or so the laws have become so strict that it is almost impossible for citizens to obtain a gun license. This law was passed so citizens could protect themselves from harm. What good is this right if not everyone can use it to their benefit. The same goes for encryption. Encryption also works in the same concept. People use it to protect there privacy of important information. With the vast amount of information and interaction on the net, there is a need to regulate how information is transferred through the net while keeping it private through its transmission on the net. Therefore the government has taken it among its self to reconstruct the information superhighway so it does not end up a demolition derby of information. As with all road construction, it is a long and never ending task. With the government taking on this challenge they are trying to come up with blueprint to follow. The government wants everybody to have there right to privacy and be able to control it also. Unfortunately they are trying to lay the pavement down before the blueprint is complete. The government wants to set laws on encryption even before they have a plan of attack because security is one of the biggest topic involving the government. For some reason, the government likes to keep things very secret in there administration for one thing or another. Having control of this area of the digital age is a very powerful position. Who ever has control of the way encryption is managed, can completely steer the direction of the digital age to there liking. Just like Bill Gates has almost has complete control of the computer industry. Everybody is conforming to the way he runs his company. Everybody else is making sure that there program can work with the Windows operating system. This is what the government wants to accomplish with encryption laws. Make people have to conform to the laws set down, or be banned form using encryption methods. There should be someone to look over the use of encryption. It is to important for it to be left to the public. With out the right management it could be used against us as a citizen. With the way the government is taking it, more then likely it is going to be used against us. To understand why it is fatal to U.S. citizens for the government to have control of encryption, one must understand how encryption works a little more then the quick introduction from the first paragraph. Encryption is done by making information unreadable to protect its contents from unauthorized persons from accessing it. If anyone but the intended person tries to access the data, they will not be able to decipher the data. The only way to decipher the data is to use what is called a key. The key is the later part of encryption. With out the proper key to go with the encryption program, there is no way to unlock the data from the encryption code. It is kind of like the front door to your house. The only way is to open it is with the specific key that you keep in a safe place to go with your front door. Someone else might have the same type of key, but will not be able to open the door due to the different setting it has between the lock and the key. The same goes for encryption. Only the key holder can unlock the data that is coded. The standard encryption program that is used is called DES. DES stands for Data Encryption Standard. This was what the US National Security Institute of Standard and Technology inconjuction with the government came up with. They are all is using this program as of right now also. The government wants to come up with a better system though. DES has problems with new technology that is being used. DES is a very slow compared to other programs that are out in the market. It is very time consuming for larger companies to use. Also the program it self is very out dated. With the new breed of computer wizards emerging, DES can be easily broken in to. Since the government can not seem to make a better program, they have contracted different companies to make the program. with this in mind, the government has sent these companies all the funding they needed to develop a new encryption system . The government also sent a set of requirements they have to meet for them to get the funding they need. What a subtle way for the government to control encryption laws. Get a few third party companies to make a new encryption program for you to make it look like its the new trend in encryption. Not only is this wrong, but it is setting back in the new development of new technology. These companies that have taken the governments funding are shooting themselves in the foot. They might be getting all this money but, companies are suppose to move technology forward. As of right now other companies are developing
newer and better programs than what these government contracted companies. These requirements the government are making to be included in their new encryption programs are actually restrictions so the government can keep an eye on you. With the restrictions the government has put on the development of the new encryption system, it is going to make it the slowest system on the global market. Other countries are making systems far more superior then the US system. Even companies in the US cannot compete with the global market because of the current laws of encryption systems. In the US companies have to stay under what I call a speed limit. Lets just say the speed limit is 50mph in the US. Companies can not have their program go faster than 50mph. Outside of the US there is no speed limit. Other countries have systems going 100 to 150 mph! Which country would you by your encryption system from? Not from the US, that is for sure. Our own government is slowing us down. Why? Because they do not trust you. They have to know where, why, when, who, and what you are doing at all times. Because it is for your own safety. They are just looking out for are best interest, and theirs! One of the guide lines that the new encryption system that has everyone up in a panic friendz is key escrow. Key escrow is very contraversional issue being debated in congress. The government wants the control of key escrow. This is why they have taken the incentive in trying to develop a new encryption system for the US. The feature of key escrow is, a third party keeps a copy of your encryption key to unlock the encrypted information that you are sending back and forth from one location to another. The big issue is that the government would have the second encryption key with them. With the government having a copy of your key, they can unlock your personal information that you have encrypted at any time. This is what the government wants to do with encryption laws. They want to be able to access your information at anytime. Of course this is for your personal safety. It is also for the security of the US. It is a way for them to monitor the net. Should they be able to do this though? Would you want them to do this? This would mean that they could be reading your encrypted e-mail with out you knowing it. Their reason would be, they were just making sure that no illegal transaction or what could be criminal activities are going on through the net. If the government gets this passed, your right to privacy is deminished on the information superhighway. Key escrow is a very good idea in controlling the activities on the net. It could keep companies in check by being able to look at their records for anything fishy. It is just the idea have having the government having control of key escrow is the main concern. They could abuse their power and infringe on our right to privacy. We are all innocent until proven guilty. Key escrow is a good way in keeping people form miss using encryption systems. The 2nd key holder will have a very huge reasonability in from of them. They are going to be the new police for the digital age. Key escrow in the hands of the government is very dangerouse. The government should be part of the digital police, but they should not be able to have complete control of it. There should be two parties in the digital police. The government and another group like the C.I.A. or form a group just for this purpose. For example D.L.A.(Digital Law-enforcement Agency). It would be their job to regulate what is going on in the information superhighway. This second encryption key from key escrow would be divided between the goernment and the D.E.A. Both the goernment and the D.E.A. would have to agree that the company or the individual is doing something wrong for them to be able to decrypt any information you have in your files. If they both do not agree, they can not use their part of the key to decrypt the suspected parties information. This way it keeps encryption from getting controlled by one power. It is like getting a law passed. Everyone must agree on the matter before it can be passed. This is the only way key escrow would work with out having our right to privacy being broken. Encryption laws are far from being set in concrete, but the ground breaking of it laws are the most important. It has to be guided in the direction, for it to hold up all the traffic it is go to under go. If it is left unsupervised, the information super highway will be become the information red zone. This paper was written by straylight and they can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.