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Re: Exporting software doesn't mean exporting (was: Re: lp ?)
On Mon, 6 Nov 1995, Peter D. Junger wrote:
> Don't blame this on my being a lawyer; blame it on some very sick
> people in the Office of Defense Trade Controls and in the NSA.
I think it's unfair to call the people at the ODTC and the NSA sick;
during the cold war, such restrictions did make some sense; in
particular, controlling the export of high-performance encryption
hardware does make it harder for other countries to deploy ubiquitous
strong encryption, particularly in the less developed countries, and
particulalry for chips that required exotic fabrication (the soviet union
never had really good mass-production facilities).
Controlling software encryption without controlling publication never
seemed to make that much sense, except that the lack of ubiquitous
encryption probably allowed for lots of realatively non-sensitive
intercepts that might otherwise have been impossible, and which may have
been useful fuel for analysts.
However, now that the cold war is over, and now that fab plants are
sprouting up all over the world, these restrictions make a lot less sense
than they used to. Their main consequence is to restrict the deployment of
strong cryptography world wide, including the United States. Strangely
enough this would seem to hurt, not help, the NSA in the most important
part of their current mission, which is to help protect US industry
against industrial espionage and virtual terrorism, which is a far more
It's time for the policy makers at the NSA and GCHQ to realise that they
won the war, give the appropriate people OBEs and knighthoods, allow the
GCHQ to rejoin the civil service unions and apologise for the insult to
their patriotism of their forcible de-unionisation, and above all,
concentrate on fighting the real enemy - The French :-)
Simon // Wow! Did I really just write all that. Next thing you know, all
// be saying sometime nice about Netscape.
I would expect the incoming Labour government to remove the ban on
Union membership at GCHQ, with the old guaranteed non-strike agreement. I
wonder how many other similar organisations allow employees to belong to
unions? I'd guess that the Israeli ones would, mainly because I can't
imagine any major Israeli organisation not being unionised :-); I can't
picture the CIA or NSA allowing collective bargaining ("America works
best when you say Union 0w98bvchgfwer097").