U.S. Crypto Laws...

Tony L. Svanstrom tony at svanstrom.com
Fri May 7 03:19:38 CEST 1999

On Thu, 6 May 1999, Zack Weinberg wrote:

> On Thu, 6 May 1999 17:08:51 -0500 (CDT), "Edward S. Marshall" wrote:
> >[ http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/local/metros/san_francisco/story.html?s
> >=n/kpix/sfbay/19990506/19990506101 ]
> >
> >SF Court Strikes Down Encryption Export Controls
> >
> >A federal appeals court in San Francisco today struck down U.S. Commerce
> >Department controls on the export of software for transmitting computer
> >messages in secret codes. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the
> >controls on export of encryption software are an unconstitutional limit on
> >free speech.
> [...]
> The referenced Yahoo article seems to have been replaced by a
> local-interest bit about a man and a garbage truck.
> The court decision may be found at:
> http://www.vcilp.org/Fed-Ct/Circuit/9th/opinions/9710055.htm
> I Am Not A Lawyer and the precise implications are not clear to me.

I'd say that not even lawyers can tell what's really going to happen;
but... if this thing really works out then there's a "hole" in this
version of the Berlin wall. What usually happens when there's a hole that
no one fixes is that another one shows up sooner or later and then another
one until people looking at the single brick left says "what the hell" and
goes to the nearest bar...

> It appears that the decision will only affect Mr. Bernstein

Yes, but if one person is limted by a law in a close to ilegal way (I say
close to because we're talking about a very special situation and if it's
not legal in this situation, which we don't really know yet, it still can
be in others; maybe we don't see it like that but lawyers don't seem to
live in the same world as we do.

>  Also,
> this is guaranteed to be headed for the US Supreme Court; nothing
> changes for at least another year.

I don't think much will change then either. What's needed is that the
largest companies in and outside the US stand up and openly (ie makes it a
PR-thing) say that the laws suck big time and that the laws are limiting
our combinded knowledge as humans to grow (or something else that the
press will love to hear).

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