1997-09-25 - Re: Exports and criminalizing crypto

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From: “John Smith” <jsmith58@hotmail.com>
To: aba@dcs.ex.ac.uk
Message Hash: 3856842e4abacfcff7efceea0d1185629e591af0895a4aa38e4145d3d4f09e11
Message ID: <19970925215418.1688.qmail@hotmail.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1997-09-25 22:21:53 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 06:21:53 +0800

Raw message

From: "John Smith" <jsmith58@hotmail.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 06:21:53 +0800
To: aba@dcs.ex.ac.uk
Subject: Re: Exports and criminalizing crypto
Message-ID: <19970925215418.1688.qmail@hotmail.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

>From: Adam Back <aba@dcs.ex.ac.uk>
>John Smith <jsmith58@hotmail.com> writes:
>> Getting rid of these export restrictions would produce an explosion
>> of Cypherpunk style crypto software.  It is a big win.
>I disagree.
>Cypherpunk (freeware) crypto isn't hardly hindered at all by EAR
>export nonsense.  
>You reference Ian Goldberg claiming to have to work on crypto during
>trips to Canada.  I think he was just trying to make a political
>point.  I submit that he could write and publish all the crypto he
>wants in the US (on one of those "export controlled" sites).  It will
>get illegally exported in no time at all.  Where's the problem?

That's easy for you to say, there in England.  You don't have these
export controls, right?  How can you say what Ian Goldberg should
do.  I think he was not just making a political point.  From what he
said, he really does not release crypto from inside the US.  Only
when he goes to Canada, which isn't that often.  I'll bet he could
be releasing 3x more crypto if we didn't have the export laws.
Is he on this list?  Let's hear what he has to say.

>William Geiger has PGP on a non-export controlled site, and the export
>bods haven't said a word, so it's not even clear that they care about
>freeware at this point.

PGP is a special case because it is already out there everywhere.
Still the example of Phil Zimmerman is a good one.  Even though he
got away with it eventually, they showed how they can make your life
hard.  Probably the only reason he didn't get charged was because
they couldn't prove anything.  Not many people are going to be
willing to take that chance.  William Geiger and a few others may
be exceptions, but most people won't openly break a law which has
strong penalties like this.

There is nothing to stop te authorities from prosecuting William
Geiger and even threatening him with jail.  There is no
guarantee that he will become another Zimmerman and get all kinds
of donations and support.  A lot of hackers thought they'd be heros
but ended up doing time.  Read that letter from Jim Bell if you want
to see how different things look once the government comes down on

>Also your claim that the FBI is defeated, and that safe is a good
>idea.  Disagree also.
>1) SAFE has lots more hurdles to pass before it gets to be law.

Yes, I said that.  It probably won't go anywhere this term.  The
big question will be what happens next year.

But after all the opposition which came out, from practically every
interest group there is, I am sure that there is no way domestic
controls on crypto are going to pass.  Even with the CDA there was
not this much united opposition.  Car companies and phone companies
didn't fight the CDA.  Religious right didn't fight the CDA.  CDA
passed, remember?  FBI's bill did not.  And all the opposition
came together in a few days.  Nobody was ready for this.  Next year
there will be more time to organize, and the opposition should be
even stronger.

>2) If it does get to be law, you won't like the modifications that are
>made to it by that stage.

That depends.  The law may still be good.  Who cares about this
crypto center.  That's just another boondoggle.  The main thing is
getting the export laws changed.

>3) Crypto-in-a-crime US domestic restrictions are a _bad thing

Stupid, yes, but not that big a deal.  Everyone will have crypto
so every crime will use it.  Wouldn't it be better to have a world
where every phone was encrypted?  So what if they add crypto-in-a-
crime to every crime where somebody used a phone to plan it.  It's
not like people aren't going to use phones, or they're going to
turn off the crypto.  It really won't have any effect on anybody,
except maybe make some prison terms longer.  That's not my issue,
how long prison terms should be.  I want to be able to use crypto.

I hope this stupid mailer doesn't chop off my message again.


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