RE: FW: Crypto

From: Stephen Frost (
Date: Wed Aug 02 2000 - 23:02:50 EST

On Wed, 2 Aug 2000, Linda Walsh wrote:

> > If FreeS/WAN were to once start accepting US contributions, then making
> > its code base *verifiably*, *unquestionably* free of them again -- should
> > that become necessary -- would be extremely difficult. It's an all but
> > irrevocable step, requiring considerable trust in a government that has
> > historically been openly hostile to free crypto.
> ---
> Should not be necessary. If the US government banned sales of
> US books overseas, it would be unable to retroactively (as in not
> constitutional) apply such a law that would require all sellers of
> books that sold overseas to re-acquire said books.
> If a US resident added code under the current law, then it
> becomes an asset of the project. If the US re-enacted controls, I
> sure that they would be unable to require anyone who let something out
> of the country to recall every bit of code. Can you imagine Microsoft
> trying to recall millions of copies of IE5 because it has strong
> crypto and the government decided to re-control such? I think the key
> to protecting yourself is that your code-base is outside of US
> territory and US control. Regardless, do what you feel necessary
> to make yourself feel safe.

        I'd love to believe this, but the actions of the gov't wrt copyright
law goes very much against this. The Sonny Bono act which extended copyright
for another 20 years was totally retroactive. The Gutenburg Project actually
had to remove some books that had put online because they came back under
copyright restrictions due to the Sonny Bono act.
        I have no clue if they'd try the same thing here. Probably depends
on if some big business is pushing them.


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