1996-09-26 - “Confessing to a felony”

Header Data

From: tcmay@got.net (Timothy C. May)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 6ff34c1043e0549964a51ec04d3a503a81500c75a638fd6b5b57096b9b7ac360
Message ID: <ae6f45b800021004a06e@[]>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1996-09-26 05:38:27 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 13:38:27 +0800

Raw message

From: tcmay@got.net (Timothy C. May)
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 13:38:27 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: "Confessing to a felony"
Message-ID: <ae6f45b800021004a06e@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 2:03 AM 9/26/96, Black Unicorn wrote:
>On Wed, 25 Sep 1996, Igor Chudov @ home wrote:
>> > >> Soon I am going to be going overseas to Japan, and I want to take
>> > >> my notebook with me so I can keep up with everything, however, I have
>> > >> encrypted my hard drive and usually encrypt my mail.  Is this in
>> > >> violation of the ITAR to keep everything the same when I go over?
>> Gentlemen, us customs does not give shit about what you take out
>> on your diskettes.
>> When I went to Russia recenty, I took PGP for DOS, and no one gave
>> me any problem.
>Obviously not, you've just confessed to a felony.


"Confessing to a felony" is meaningless, as I understand things. While BU
is a lawyer, and I am not, I maintain "confessing to a felony" is
meaningless without several necessary factors:

a. interest by law enforcement that a crime has been committed and needs to
be prosecuted

b. evidence that the "confession" can be backed up by other evidence

c. common sense

Thus, if even former prosecutor Brian Davis, when he was a prosecutor, were
to have "confessed to a felony" (for example, saying a bad word on a forum
where minors might be present, under the CDA, and before it was put on
semi-hold), his colleagues would just have snickered, thinking him crazy.

As to the felony status of taking PGP to Russia, I think it's not a felony.
The "personal use" exemption in the ITARs certainly makes taking PGP to
_Western_ Europe an OK thing. Whether Russia is still considered to be
worthy of an "exemption to the exemption," as it were, is unclear to me.

Mostly, I think U.S. Customs doesn't care.

--Tim May

We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that that ain't allowed.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1,257,787-1 | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."