30th December 2000

Were legislation proposed which required that no car be capable of going faster than 30mph and which forced drivers to keep an electronic speed log of every journey which, on pain of prison, was to be made available to the police on demand, the car industry would fund organisations to oppose the legislation. This funding would not make such opposition reprehensible. It is similar with the opposition to the far-reaching powers taken by government over private electronic correspondence that John Carr criticises (January). It is quite proper that Microsoft is backing it.

To hear Jack Straw and John Carr talk you would think that key encryption technology was invented by criminals and paedophiles for their own ends. Of course organisations such as the Children's Society (for which I am a local fund-raiser), see dangers in encryption, just as those people whose relations have been killed by irresponsible drivers are anxious a6out excessive speed. However, like many lobby groups, they do not see the big picture. The bigger picture is that government, of its very nature, seeks to increase its control. Those who sought to stop the RIP Bill did so because we believed the dangers that it was designed to cure, though real, did not justify the dangers it would cause.

Michael Catty

Stevenage, Herts