13 January 1999

To: cypherpunks-announce@toad.com, cryptography@c2.net, gnu@toad.com
Subject: Watch the gov't discuss crypto policy Friday in Cupertino: PECSENC
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 02:21:45 -0800
From: John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com>

PECSENC is a hard-to-parse acronym for the President's Export Council,
Subcommittee on Encryption.  The Council is a group of assorted
citizens appointed by the President of the US under Executive Order
12991 to advise him on US trade issues.  Since crypto policy is so
complex and painful, they pushed it into a subcommittee of its own.
That subcommittee is meeting this Friday at HP in Cupertino.  They
usually meet on the East Coast, far from most people affected by the
crypto regulations, so I thought it would be friendly of us to show up
and welcome them to Silicon Valley.

I will be speaking at the meeting about the Wassenaar Arrangement, but
that isn't why you should come.  You should come because this is one
of the few public fora in which government and selected citizens
actually discuss crypto policy.  Officially, and to advise the President.

They faxed me 6 pages of maps and directions, but it all boils down
to: Take I-280 to Cupertino, exit on Wolfe Road going north/east, turn
right at the second light on Pruneridge Ave, turn left at the first
light into the HP complex, go 200 feet and turn right at the "T"
intersection, and follow to the last building on the left, Building
46.  Park in the visitor lot in front, register at the reception desk
and get a badge.  The room can hold about 60 people (of which about 30
will be PECSENC and invited speakers.)

There won't be an opportunity to rant, like there was a few years ago
when the National Research Council invited public comments at the CFP
conference.  (Perhaps they'll set one up for a future meeting -- I
think it would be informative for them.)  But it's a chance to see the
alice-in-wonderland workings of the government as they try to
manipulate a supposedly independent advisory group into overlooking
the emperor's nudity.  We may get a chance to make a few short, polite
comments, though they've arranged the agenda so the public gets to
comment *before* the government or the subcommittee says anything
worth commenting about.

Some of the people on the subcommittee should be well known to 

	Stewart Baker, lawyer, ex-General Counsel of NSA, GAK cheerleader
	Kevin McCurley, cryptographer, IBM Research, President of IACR
		(IACR was established by Diffie, Chaum, Rivest, etc in the
		'70s to protect and foster crypto research -- www.iacr.org)
	Esther Dyson, business philosopher & author, EFF, ICANN Interim Chair
	John Liebman, lawyer, author of major export control law tome
	  (I'm leaving out ten or twenty people, mostly because the list
	   isn't published anywhere online that I can find)

[See ]

As part of their role in "supporting" the subcommittee's work, the
government has published the driest and least fun-looking "Notice of
Open Meeting" that the law will let them get away with:
However there is a juicier agenda which I received as a speaker:

  We have revised the schedule in light of certain timing constraints.  So,
  please note that the private sector discussion of Wassenaar will take
  place in the afternoon.  In addition to John Gilmore, PECSENC member Ira
  Rubenstein will address this topic.  (Lynn McNulty of RSA has been
  asked to offer remarks on RSA's experiences, too.)  Also, Whit Diffie will
  let us know shortly whether he will speak before the group.

  Here is the updated agenda:

  President's Export Council
  Subcommittee on Encryption
  January 15, 1998
  Pacific Ocean Room, Bldg. 46
  19447 Pruneridge Avenue
  Cupertino, California 95014

9:00	Opening Comments/ 	Stewart Baker, Acting PECSENC Chairman
	Discussion of List Server/

9:45	Public Comments

10:00 	BXA Update	William A. Reinsch
			Under Secretary for Export Administration

10:30	Congressional Presentation	Representative Zoe Lofgren

11:00	Briefings	The Wassenaar Arrangement and Ambassador Aaron's
			James A. Lewis, Director
			Office of Strategic Trade and Foreign Policy Controls
			Bureau of Export Administration (BXA)
			Michelle O'Neill
			Executive Director to Ambassador David Aaron
			International Trade Administration (ITA)

12:00	Lunch for Members

1:15	Briefings	Private Sector Perspective on the Wassenaar Arrangement
			John Gilmore, Co-Founder, EFF
			Ira Rubenstein, Senior Corporate Attorney, Microsoft

2:00			Foreign Availability of Encryption Technology
			Kevin McCurley, Ph.D., IBM

2:30			What's New In Commercial Crypto
			Dr. Taher Elgamal, CEO, Securify, Inc.
			Dr. John Atalla, Chairman, Tristrata, Inc.

4:00			Adjourn

I encourage anyone from the Bay Area crypto community who cares about
export controls on crypto to come observe the meeting, and participate
in the discussions in the hallways.  Like attending hearings of the
Bernstein case, open your costume box and pull out the business drag
(suits & whatever businesswomen enjoy wearing these days).  Our role
will be less to inform the meeting of anything in particular, and more
to inform them by our quiet presence that lots of significant people
care to watch exactly what they're doing with our civil rights.

After watching how it operates and thinking for a bit, you might have
some informed suggestions for the subcommittee, which can be sent to
them by email.  As Thomas Pynchon said, "If they can get you to ask
the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers."  The
Commerce Dept may have been all too successful at getting the
subcommittee to focus on the wrong questions.  (E.g. before the DES
Cracker announcement, they were debating whether to ask the President
to decontrol DES -- a useless and counterproductive action which of
course the government has just done.)  Just as the cypherpunks came up
with some great questions to inform the Clipper debate, I'm sure we
can come up with some meaty questions for the subcommittee to chew on,
rather than the pap the gov't feeds them.

If you have any further questions about PECSENC or the meeting, please

	Jason Gomberg
	Encryption Policy Controls Division
	Bureau of Export Administration
	+1 202 482 1368

I hope to see you-all there.

	John Gilmore, Electronic Frontier Foundation

PS:  Also, don't forget the cypherpunks meeting the following day, in
rooms B1-B2 of the San Jose Convention Center, noon-6PM, Saturday 16Jan99.