1996-11-09 - Re: WebTV a “munition”

Header Data

From: “Peter D. Junger” <junger@pdj2-ra.F-REMOTE.CWRU.Edu>
To: Cypherpunks <cypherpunks@toad.com>
Message Hash: e6551ba7b0fa1c366148d4f7be09c1f6c3689296779617b5554b725eedf8e9e3
Message ID: <199611091610.LAA00420@pdj2-ra.F-REMOTE.CWRU.Edu>
Reply To: <3283A25B.1D6E@ix.netcom.com>
UTC Datetime: 1996-11-09 16:10:56 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 9 Nov 1996 08:10:56 -0800 (PST)

Raw message

From: "Peter D. Junger" <junger@pdj2-ra.F-REMOTE.CWRU.Edu>
Date: Sat, 9 Nov 1996 08:10:56 -0800 (PST)
To: Cypherpunks <cypherpunks@toad.com>
Subject: Re: WebTV a "munition"
In-Reply-To: <3283A25B.1D6E@ix.netcom.com>
Message-ID: <199611091610.LAA00420@pdj2-ra.F-REMOTE.CWRU.Edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Rich Graves writes:

: Eric Murray wrote:
: > 
: > Page 3 of the San Jose Mercury News has a small blurb
: > about WebTV's browser/set-top box that "uses
: > computer-security technology so powerful that the
: > government is classifying it as a weapon
: > that will require a special export license before
: > it can be sold overseas".[...]
: > shouldn't be too difficult.  If they didn't use the "export"
: > level SSL CipherTypes, then what're they up to?  Are they
: > fighting crypto export laws (for which they should be congratulated
: > and supported) or are they just looking for free publicity?
: Based on the lack of public policy pronouncements from the WebTV folks, 
: I would answer C) They're clueless. I'm not sure that management even 
: understood, or wanted to understand, that they'd have an export problem.
: See http://www.webtv.net/

But note that both their licensees, Sony and Philips, are foreign
companies.  Presumably they will just manufacture the boxes outside
the U.S. when they want to market them outside the U.S.

As far as I know, the only person convicted of shipping cryptographic
devices outside the U.S. without a license was guilty of shipping a
satellite TV descrambler to Latin America.  So there is some sort of
precedent.  (And, of course, no First Amendment problem.)

But there is a big question as to whether WebTV violated the ITAR by
transfering cryptographic _information_ to the licensees.

Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH
Internet:  junger@pdj2-ra.f-remote.cwru.edu    junger@samsara.law.cwru.edu
                     URL:  http://samsara.law.cwru.edu