Well I always like to rile up Seeing the Forest’s readers, and few subjects do that better than bringing up the whole “Clipper Chip” controversey from the Clinton years. But now, with the revelations about Bush initiating NSA spying on Americans without warrants, I feel there could be no better time than now to get everyone commenting.
You see, except in very, very rare cases our e-mail and phone calls are not encrypted, which lets anyone with the right equipment listen in. Because of this problem the Clinton Administration proposed a standardized encryption chip that would go into all computers and phones. The result of using this chip would be that every call and e-mail would be encrypted automatically so no one could eavesdrop. “Conservative movement’ Republicans blocked Clinton’s efforts, and now here we are with “conservative movement’ Republicans listening to our phone calls and reading our e-mails. DUH!
Three years ago I wrote a post saying,
The Republicans intentionally spread the ridiculous lie that this was an attempt to listen in on our communications. Because of the cynical, suspicious anti-government environment that Republican messaging had created this lie caught on.
The basis for the Republicans’ smear was that the Administration had a plan to allow law enforcement officials to break the code if they obtained a warrant. (Nothing would stop people from using their own encryption if they wanted to.) Ironically, this was specifically so they could listen in on potential terrorists. This is what the Republicans claimed was Clinton planning to listen in! Now remember, without the chip the government theoretically could listen in on any communications, because no one was using encryption. Clinton’s plan to keep people from being able to listen in was described as a plan to listen in, and people bought it.
And because they were able to block this chip, no one is encrypting now.
So here we are.
How well did the “conservative movement’ push everyone’s buttons back then, using anti-government inclinations to make people think Clinton was trying to bug their phones? Two birds with one stone – smear Clinton and leave us all vulnerable to wiretapping.
And, coming off of my last tin-foil-hat post, who benefitted most from America’s communications being wide open? Who paid for all those articles and op-eds about how Clinton was trying to spy on us? And who the hell funds the Moonies and their Washington Times and their hundreds of front-organizations masquerading as “conservatives?”