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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:

           http://cgi.pathfinder.com/netly/opinion/0,1042,1022,00.html

           "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
           Amendment.

           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?

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