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Re: Let sleeping dogs lay]



On Thu, Sep 11, 1997 at 05:04:52PM -0700, Tim May wrote:
> 
> "Nothing good can come out of crypto legislation."
> 
> --said by several of us over the past year
> 
> 
> The big mistake was ever introducing the SAFE and Pro-CODE bills, as it
> brought the NSA and FBI out of their warrens and into the warrens of
> Congress. Without any crypto bills at all, it is possible (though by no
> means certain) that no legislation at all would have been introduced this
> year.

And the longer the wait the better.  Some have complained that the
status quo situation of export restrictions was unacceptable.  Yet
the spread of crypto has largely been unrestrained -- a stay of
execution so to speak.  The longer the status quo remains, the more
ubiquitous crypto becomes and future legislative efforts are
undermined.

That said, I think these organizations made a strategic error.  Had a
draconian bill been introduced first, opposition probably would have
played out differently in the press.  We saw this with Clipper.

I believe commercial interests played a large part in the push for
legislation.

Just another player in the game, I suppose.
 
> But once SAFE and Pro-CODE were out there, on the table, the forces in
> favor of a surveillance state began their lobbying in earnest, giving the
> infamous "if you only knew what we knew" scare tactic pitches. Last minute
> amendments and even complete bill replacements are easier to slip in than a
> Big Brother bill from the gitgo. Sure enough, the tide is now moving
> swiftly toward a future far, far, far worse than the mere annoyance of
> export controls.

You almost sound surprised.  Did they really think Congressman would
understand crypto?  Congressmen _do_ understand law and order and
protecting poor defenseless children from porn.  They understand
preventing "another Oklahoma.   And it's an easy sell to their
constituencies, too.

The average schmoe may indeed *want* more freedom, but he also he wants
to be protected.  And he also has a limited understanding of the
equation.  The easiest explanation wins, of course.
 
> to prison." The current language is of course a full-blown disaster.
> Pandora's box was opened by SAFE and Pro-CODE.
> 
> And so here we are. Multiple committees in both houses jockeying to see who
> can clamp down the hardest on crypto.
> 
> CDT, EPIC, and all the other Beltway insiders ought to think about this
> mess. Sometimes it's better just to let sleeping dogs lay. Or lie. Or
> whatever.

Some people just don't get it.  You'll never gain more freedom through
more legislation.

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