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Re: ALERT: On Monday, call Congress to stop Big Brother amendment!

>From the joint alert that Sameer reposted:

>> Other amendments may be proposed.  Please urge the Congressman to pass SAFE
>> "as is" and oppose any amendments.

But wait... The version of SAFE "as is" contains the ***FIRST EVER***
domestic restrictions on encryption! Why should it be passed intact? For
the sake of Beltway politicking and deal-cutting?

It includes very, very troubling severe criminal penalties for the use of
encryption in a crime. When encryption is in everything from light switches
to door knobs, any crime will include crypto, no? It would be like
criminalizing "breathing air in the commission of a crime..."

Why not just say "stop SAFE altogether?" No new laws are better than bad
new laws. And even if the crypto-in-a-crime provisions are yanked, SAFE may
be a bad bill. I wrote about this in June:


           "Please, do no harm here. Let's keep what we won,"
           says Cindy Cohn, one of the lawyers mounting an
           EFF-sponsored court challenge to the White House's
           export rules. So far that effort has been successful: A
           federal judge ruled last December that the line-by-line
           instructions in a computer program are "speech" and
           restrictions on overseas shipments violate the First

           Cohn argues that both Rep. Bob Goodlatte's (R-Va.)
           SAFE bill and Sen. Conrad Burns' (R-Mont.) ProCODE
           bill could do more harm than good. She says they might
           not even help her client, a university professor who wants
           to discuss encryption without going to jail. "What effect
           would SAFE or ProCODE have? Either none or a
           detrimental one," Cohn said on Monday at a conference
           organized by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Why are these organizations -- CDT, VTW, Wired, EFF, ATR -- urging it be
passed intact, as is? Why should Americans give up their rights so business
can make more money on encryption exports?

(Not speaking for anyone but myself, of course.)