1997-07-25 - Re: An Attempt to Hobble SAFE Crypto Bill

Header Data

From: “Peter D. Junger” <junger@upaya.multiverse.com>
To: Cypherpunks <cypherpunks@cyberpass.net>
Message Hash: 4369c7da35ae13f3e6d6ae645dc00b77b5331fd1680a5f57fd9133df5719ddb2
Message ID: <199707251922.PAA02459@upaya.multiverse.com>
Reply To: <Pine.GSO.3.95.970725111252.22013N-100000@well.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-07-25 19:31:19 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 26 Jul 1997 03:31:19 +0800

Raw message

From: "Peter D. Junger" <junger@upaya.multiverse.com>
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 1997 03:31:19 +0800
To: Cypherpunks <cypherpunks@cyberpass.net>
Subject: Re: An Attempt to Hobble SAFE Crypto Bill
In-Reply-To: <Pine.GSO.3.95.970725111252.22013N-100000@well.com>
Message-ID: <199707251922.PAA02459@upaya.multiverse.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

: http://www.wired.com/news/news/politics/story/5492.html
: An Attempt to Hobble House Crypto Bill
:  by Rebecca Vesely
:  9:08am  25.Jul.97.PDT A Republican opponent of a House
:  bill that would loosen controls on the use and export of
:  encryption is circulating an amendment that would
:  effectively cripple the legislation.
:  The amendment, by Representative Benjamin Gilman
:  (R-New York), who chairs the International Relations
:  Committee, would make it unlawful to "manufacture,
:  distribute, sell, or import any product within the United
:  States that can be used to encrypt communications or
:  information if the product does not permit the real-time
:  decryption of such encrypted communications or
:  information."

This is interesting in a perverse sort of way.  Notice that it does
not purport to forbid the _use_ of strong crypto.  Is software---
especially if it is not for sale, but just given away---a product?
Does writing software amount to manufacturing it?  

It actually does a very nice job of raising the first amendment issues
that are ultimately going to kill export controls, as well as import
controls, as applied to software.  It would seem that, unless one
believes that the first amendment only protects pornographers, but not
programmers, that this proposed legislation is either (i) blatantly
unconstitutional or (ii) totally ineffective (since, if it is not
unconstitutional, it could not be applied to the writing, distributing,
importing, or even selling of those texts that we call programs.)

Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH
 EMAIL: junger@samsara.law.cwru.edu    URL:  http://samsara.law.cwru.edu   
     NOTE: junger@pdj2-ra.f-remote.cwru.edu no longer exists