The societal issue I chose to investigate was encryption. Although it sounds more like a technical issue, it is also a societal issue. I started by looking at the clipper chip. This was a device the government wanted to install in all electronic communications devices during the 1990s. Simply put it was an encryption chip. The government would maintain control of the encryption algorithm, the resulting effect would be to allow decryption of any message it intercepted. http://www.webopedia.com/ While on the surface this technology seems harmless enough, and down right essential for surveillance capabilities and national security concerns. However, this built in ability to eavesdrop brought up societal issues touching on the 1st and 4th amendments. Both the computer industry and the general public objected enough to this technology to force modifications in the standard, albeit for different reasons. While the public concerns are of potential abuses, proper enforcement of application, and overall privacy rights - industry concerns were more about squelching new innovation in encryption with a single standard, the debate over what method was best, and the inevitable problem of a single point of failure compromising everyone. An article found on MIT's web site written in 1995 by A. Micheal Froomkin further explores the overall issues of a "distrustful society" where there is no privacy, and "everyone is open to surveillance at all times". www-swiss.ai.mit.edu/6095/articles/froomkin-metaphor/text.html My opinion on all of this is that public debate and the scrutiny of industry experts is essential in the use of encryption technology. With that involvement maybe we can safely use encryption for the tool it is. One result of the public debate was to modify the clipper chip into clipper2 and then clipper3. Clipper3 allowed for any encryption method to be used, but required the keys to be given to the government if the device was exported from this country. This seems like a reasonable compromise. Cathy More idamcer@xxxxxxxxx --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail SpamGuard - Read only the mail you want.