Why you should not use PGP

Johan Wevers johanw@vulcan.xs4all.nl
Mon Dec 9 14:30:02 2002

Ryan Malayter wrote:

> As an American who has traveled a bit in Europe, I think you've got that
> backwards. Europeans, in my opinion, enjoy fewer personal freedoms than
> Americans.

Really? I doubt that used to be true for most countries. The Brittish
being the most noted exception.

> It is France which outlaws strong cryptography.

Yes, in theory. In practice, noone will bother you.

> It is Great Brittan's police that search the private residences and
> possessions of its Irish citizens without due process or probable cause.

Indeed, the Brittish have very strong laws restricting personal freedom.
Unfortunately, laws restricting personal freedom and large monitoring
systems are being pushed more and more to help Bush on his war on terrorism.
After 11-9, they passed laws so they can lock forreigners up without charges
indefinitely, like the USA does with their Afghan prisoners.

> Only recently have we Americans been subjected to search by machine-gun
> toting soldiers in airports - something I saw in Frankfurt back in 1991.
> And I believe you cannot legally own a firearm for personal protection in
> any European country.

Fortunately we don't have so many guns around here as in the USA. It makes
me feel a lot safer, since even street robbers have seldom more weapons than
a knive and after 18 years of jiu jitsu training I'm not affraid for an
untrained junk with a knive. I would be for an idiot with a gun.

> The Netherlands, of course, seems to be an exception to this rule, but
> to my knowledge only with regards to recreational drug use.

We see no real reason to suppress that. IMO, the US war on drugs causes more
harm than it does good. And no, I'm no cannabis smoker - I hate even
"normal" smoking.

> Specifically, what other freedoms do you enjoy that we Americans do not?

I have the right to debug a device I legally buy and see how it works.
You can't - the DMCA forbids it to you. Due to hollywood pressure on US
politicians, and their pressure on EU politicians, such stupid laws are
being prepared here too. Due to hollywood pressure, the local police even
arrested people in Norway who broke no local laws but did broke (or at least
had contact with someone who did break) the CSS encryption on DVD's. And now
some senator there is pushing for laws that would forbid general purpose
computers and force manufacturers to make only hollywood and Microsoft
approoved hardware with DRM inside. If that proposal makes it, I'm sure
the US will try to enforce Europe and Asia to follow them.

Pressure from US cults like scientology on US politicians made Sweden change
their laws about openness on government - seek on the net on the case
scientology - Panoussis. If you speak up against such an organisation, you
can do so reasonably safe in Europe, unles you annoy them enough to make
then use corrupt politicians. In the USA, you can do that only theoretically
- they'll just sue you in 50 states untill you're bancrupt. And that's only
not some religious cults that start jihads, large companies like McDonalds
and Disney are notorious for such tactics too.

ir. J.C.A. Wevers         //  Physics and science fiction site:
johanw@vulcan.xs4all.nl   //  http://www.xs4all.nl/~johanw/index.html
PGP/GPG public keys at http://www.xs4all.nl/~johanw/pgpkeys.html