1997-09-10 - Re: House National Security committee guts SAFE, worse than nobill

Header Data

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: Declan McCullagh <jseiger@cdt.org>
Message Hash: cddea5d6014a3eb436bd84bb089a61c9df848734b24cf466b7f986f2c0a8a6ed
Message ID: <v03102807b03bc5e166cd@[]>
Reply To: <v03102807b03ba8918f73@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1997-09-10 03:47:57 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 11:47:57 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 11:47:57 +0800
To: Declan McCullagh <jseiger@cdt.org>
Subject: Re: House National Security committee guts SAFE, worse than nobill
In-Reply-To: <v03102807b03ba8918f73@[]>
Message-ID: <v03102807b03bc5e166cd@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 7:52 PM -0700 9/9/97, Declan McCullagh wrote:
>On Tue, 9 Sep 1997, Jonah Seiger wrote:
>> I am not suggesting that we should relax because the Administration is not
>> completely satisfied with this provision. They scored a hit against SAFE,
>> just like we won one at the Foreign Relations Committee.  Border skirmishes
>> in the larger, ongoing war.
>The war in Congress is essentially over. There is no realistic hope of
>good crypto legislation passing. I'd be interested to hear any
>hypothetical that you'd suggest to the contrary. Keep in mind when
>concocting it that you'd have to get past the Senate -- where pro-crypto
>legislation has been dead for months -- and a presidential veto.
>Can you honestly say that any legislation that would survive such a
>fearsome test would be better than the situation we have now? (That is, no
>domestic controls, an export control regime hanging from a shoestring, and
>moderately successful court challenges.)

I was never enthusiastic about SAFE anyway. The criminalization language
was bad news, and the approval language added along the way effectively
gutted the bill. Face it, would it have allowed free export of arbitrarily
strong, unbreakable crypto? If anyone thinks this, they're living in a
fantasy world.

And as Declan said, the Senate and the White House were very cold on SAFE.

So why bother? Why give the NSA and FBI an opening for regulating
_domestic_ crypto use just to let Netscape and Microsoft and a few other
companies export to "furriners." (I support free exports, obviously, but
not if it means restrictions in any way on existing liberties.)

The "software as free speech, which means it can be subjected to prior
restraint, government censorship, or export control" argument is proceeding
nicely, thanks to Bernstein, Gilmore, Junger, Cohn, and others, and is a
much more solid basis for ensuring civil liberties.

Just drop all work on SAFE and Pro-CODE sorts of things and focus efforts
on monkeywrenching GAK and widely distributing bootleg crypto around the
world, as fast as possible.

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
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: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."