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Restrictions on Munitions _Imports_

At 1:58 AM 10/2/95, Michael Froomkin wrote:
>On Thu, 28 Sep 1995, Douglas Barnes wrote:
>> communications problems, their fear of RSA Labs, new Belgian
>> export controls they haven't tried to work with yet, and their
>> belief that I need a US crypto import license, which I can't persuade
>> anyone to admit _exists_.
>There is no such animal under US law.  Note however (1) you need export
>permission to re-export the import, just as if it was produced here; (2)

I don't expect that any specific _crypto_ import licenses exist, but
certainly various kinds of _munitions_ import licenses exist (improperly,
in my opinion, of course).

Specifically, importers of guns must have licenses. And not just because of
local laws, as the Feds (U.S. Customs, BATF) get involved in seizures of
ammunition, clips, guns, etc. (A recent case here in the Bay Area involved
the highly publicized seizure of some large number of crates of Chinese or
Russian 7.39 mm ammo...it was alleged that improper licenses had been
gotten, or had been forged, or some other such crime. After Feinswine got
her media attention, calling the imports "shocking," it was later admitted
that the warehouse contents were duly licensed and the news was carried on
page C23 that the importers were kosher.

(As with most laws, a welter of competing laws are involved. The Gun
Control Act of 1968 is involved, as is the McClure-Volkmer Act, etc. And
during the recent anti-gun hysteria, new laws were passed about the
importation of ammunition, clips, etc.)

As far as other munitions go, try "importing" a French Exocet, a Russian
Strelka, or any number of other "munitions" items.

Given that crypto is classified as "munitions" for the purpose of export
control (including the ITARs), it would not surprise me in the least if the
same sorts of restrictions on imports of the aforementioned munitions are
not applied to at least some crypto imports. If not now, soon. (Given that
many folks are talking about a strategy that has been apparent for many
years: develop core crypto in less hostile environments than the U.S.)

I can't cite a specific law affecting crypto imports at this time--and I
doubt any crypto products have been affected so far--but clearly there are
restricitions on imports of ammunition, guns, missiles, jet fighters,
and--maybe soon--on "crypto munitions."

--Tim May

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