The original attempt at universalization was scaled back to where it was actually only intended for "use only by government". In more benign cases adoption by the government as a standard, due to its enormous buying power, often results in de facto adoption by industry and the public. However numerous flaws of the scheme made it essentially Dead On Arrival.

Another "downscale" was the admission that the 10 Megabit/sec. (technical info) data rate limitation of the chip made it impractical for anything but low speed voice and some data communication. The fact that the Capstone, the more speedy brother of the Clipper, is rarely heard of, could be seen to imply a less that eager drive by the government to impose it as a standard.

The most hypocritical and ethically questionable tactic in many peoples opinion has been the pronouncement that the standard is and will always remain voluntary. This is felt to be a very obvious and inept "foot in the door" tactic employed by the administration to diffuse privacy fears. However David Sobel, CPSR legal counsel, places the issue in perspective when he says

"Maybe five, ten years down the road, the government
will say:'Well, this technology is widely-used within
the government. We've proven its effectiveness. However,
we are having problems with terrorists and criminals
using other technologies.' So now, we are finding it
necessary to mandate the use of this technology. And
we are going to outlaw the use of any other type of
encryption technology.' So that's the concern when the
government says that it's voluntary. This kind of
proposal on voluntary basis just doesn't make any sense."

The NSA attempted to addressed fears of eventual mandatory imposition of the standard as follows. In response to the following questions from Senator Larry Presler:

"Admiral, as you are aware, critics of the Administration's
proposal argue that as a practical matter, no criminal,
foreign spy, or terrorist of any sophisticated would be
foolish enough to use an encryption device designed by
the NSA and approved by the FBI. How do you respond? Why
don't you think the people whose telecommunications the
NSA and the FBI want most to decode will be the very people
most unlikely to use this technology?"
Admiral VADM McConnell of the NSA said:
"From what we know today, the overriding requirement that
spies, terrorist, and criminals have is for readily
available and easy to use equipment that interoperates.
Key escrow encryption is not meant to be a tool to catch
criminals. It will make excellent encryption available
to legitimate businesses and private citizens without
allowing criminals to use the telecommunications systems
to plan and commit crimes with impunity...We can sit
back and watch as the emerging national information
infrastructure becomes a valuable tool for criminals
and terrorists to use to plan and carry out their
activities with complete security, or we can take
steps to maintain the current ability of government
to conduct lawful wiretaps so that prudent criminals
will have to find other less efficient ways to operate
and foolish ones may be caught. Key escrow encryption is
the latest option."

This response is far more telling in what it does not address as in what it does. In a way when the Admiral states that "prudent criminals will have to find other less efficient ways to operate", that all but assumes these criminals' inability to use existing means of encryption commercially available which are just as efficient as the clipper chip.

In fact, the government has until recently been acting in a rather heavy- handed fashion to ensure the de facto adoption of the clipper. The most effective of these tactics involves the use of far more stringent export restrictions on non-clipper crypto technologies which imposes undue burdens on hardware and software developers wishing to do business abroad.

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