Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 131

well-publicized "back door" increases the probability that criminals or other unauthorized users will find a way to break in.

Furthermore, as Phil Zimmerman (Endnote #35) has pointed out, if most people sent all their letters on postcards, anyone who used an envelope would look suspicious. The fact that most of us use envelopes most of the time increases our reasonable expectation of privacy in our written communications.

Finally, keep in mind that in the near future all kinds of personal information will be transmitted over the net, or the National Information Infrastructure (NII). While you may not care now whether your casual email is read, you may care when your credit card records, medical records, and tax returns are transmitted electronically.

On the other hand, I don't want to minimize the dangers of unbreakable encryption. There are people in the world who will use any tool at their disposal to get away with doing bad things. If you're concerned about these issues, consider joining the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group started by Mitch Kapor and John Perry Barlow. (Endnote #36)

Netiquette isn't ready yet to make a call on proper encryption behavior. But one thing is beyond question: Government intrusion into private email is very bad Netiquette.


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