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IP: What was the quid pro quo for Wassenaar countries?
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Sun, 06 Dec 1998 12:59:12 -0500
To: cypherpunks () toad com, cryptography () c2 net
Date: Fri, 04 Dec 1998 18:40:15 -0800
From: John Gilmore <gnu () toad com>
I spoke some hours ago with Tatu Ylonen in Finland. His company has
confirmation from the Finnish government that the government agreed to
a proposal to limit mass-market crypto exports to 56 bits. Perhaps
he or someone else from SSH can post more details.
So *something* really did happen at the Wassenaar meeting, but we
don't know two important things:
* What exactly did they agree to? In particular, is public
domain -- as opposed to mass market -- crypto controlled?
* And what did NSA offer, to convince many countries to
directly contradict policies that they had arrived at
during year-long public consultations with their own citizens?
A carrot? A stick? Blackmail from wiretaps? Access
to NSA's wiretap network in return for cooperation?
What was the strong motivation for so many countries to go
against their own economic and self-determination interests?
It was pointed out to me that the Wassenaar Arrangement has no legal
effect. Each country has to go back and amend its own local controls.
However, I personally saw cases more than a year ago where both Japan
and Belgium were restricting bona fide civilian crypto transactions
"because Wassenaar requires us to" when in fact it didn't. This
development will give these countries much more "cover" to implement
draconian policies, under secret arm-twisting from the US.
We will have to fight this one in the trenches, in each country.
First step is to raise a hue and cry and put each government on the
defensive (as they well ought to be). Then let's find out what "deal"
they made with the devil. Finally let's see whether, as Perry says,
civil rights and political processes work, and the will of the people
will actually end up codified in the laws of each country. Or not.
PS: I particularly like Ambassador Aaron's characterization that
this new development will help US industry, by censoring foreign crypto
publishers in the same way the US government censors US publishers.
A giant step forward for freedom and commerce everywhere, eh Mr. Aaron?
What an incredibly talented liar, I mean diplomat, he is.
- IP: What was the quid pro quo for Wassenaar countries? Dave Farber (Dec 06)