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Third World Man

(Wow! I just trimmed 7 of the 8 names cc:ed on this message I'm quoting...I
think the auto-quoting software most of use is getting out of hand. The
trimmed recipients were; To: [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected])


At 9:19 PM 8/20/95, Adam Shostack wrote:
>| So ... has this proven that the banning of strong crypto is the correct
>| way to go, and that, at least to some, credit card transactions using
>| weak crypto will be acceptable to most (given the ease of getting CC#s
>| other ways)?
>        No.  Banning strong crypto will not help; those darn furriners
>are using it anyway.  What it will mean is that the Information
>Infrastructure of the future will bypass the United States, as without
>strong cryptography, it is impossible to build a secure architechture.
>        Should the United States wish to relagate itself to the status
>of a third world nation becuase of terrorists, druge dealers, child
>pornorgaphers and money launderers, that is indeed unfortunate.

The U.S. is not likely to find itself relegated to third world status over
this issue. Rhetorically, I wish it were so, but it just ain't. This
issue--like the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s, the race issue in the '60s,
the Vietnam war in the '60s and '70s, to name a few cases, _sounds_ really
serious. And it is, as those cases were, but predicting the imminent
collapse of American civilization is usually a lose.

There is no way the technologlcal and manufacturing prowess of leading
American companies will be substantially crippled.

I would like to see export laws relaxed, especially as they are seldom
effective, and so on. You know my views.

But the likeliest outcome if strong crypto export remains hard, but import
is unaffected, is that strong crypto will be imported from Europe and

(It does not violate any laws that I am aware of to have a product for sale
in the U.S. with "hooks" for arbitrary crypto, so long as that product and
the hooks are not _exported_. Naturally, companies like Microsoft, Lotus,
Novell, etc., do not want to have a U.S. version and an export version. But
if they _have_ to, they can. My point is that this would certainly not
relegate the U.S. to Third World status, at least not faster than many
other trends are already doing.)

Several European companies are strong in crypto, of course.

--Tim May

Timothy C. May            | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected] (Got net?)  | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-728-0152              | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Corralitos, CA            | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839    | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."