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[Note: Privacy advocates have long suspected that the FBI and other
agencies have been searching desperately for any evidence to back their
fears that encryption hampers law enforcement. Looks like Freeh things
he's found it. In reality, the investigation in question has already
resulted in dozens of arrests, and it would appear that encryption has
not significantly hampered the investigation in the least.]

Date: Fri, 22 Sep 1995 02:22:40 -0400

Subject: Freeh: Kiddie Porn was Encrypted
From: (David L. Sobel)

In an address at the International Cryptography Institute

conference in Washington today, FBI Director Louis Freeh
revealed that the Bureau encountered encrypted material during
the course of its "Innocent Images" investigation. That
operation recently led to dozens of nationwide arrests for
alleged trafficking in child pornography via America Online.
Freeh also disclosed that encrypted files were found during the
course of a terrorism investigation in the Philippines involving
an alleged plot to bomb a U.S. airliner and assassinate Pope
John Paul II.

The FBI Director characterized encryption as a "public safety"

issue and stated that the FBI and law enforcement agencies
around the world "will not tolerate" a situation in which the
wide availability of encryption may impede those agencies'
"public safety functions." While noting that the current U.S.
government policy is to encourage the "voluntary" adoption of
key-escrowed encryption techniques, Freeh raised the specter of
a mandated "solution." Freeh stressed that the FBI "prefers" a
"voluntary approach," but likened the encryption issue to last
year's Digital Telephony debate, where the FBI first attempted
to achieve voluntary compliance but eventually sought and
obtained a legislative mandate to assure law enforcement access
to digital communications. Freeh indicated that "if consensus
is impossible" on the encryption issue, the FBI "may consider
other approaches."

Following his prepared address, Freeh was asked why the FBI
needs key-escrow when it has apparently been successful in
decrypting information encountered in the cited investigations.
His response to this question was somewhat vague, leaving
unanswered the question of whether or not the Bureau was, in
fact, able to decrypt the encrypted files seized in the
"Innocent Images" investigation. More information on this
point is likely to emerge as these cases come to trial.

Davis Sobel
Legal Counsel
Electronic Privacy Information Center




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