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Re: early reports from Austria: possible crypto stalemate (fwd)
--- begin forwarded text
To: [email protected]
Cc: M Taylor <[email protected]>, [email protected]
Subject: Re: early reports from Austria: possible crypto stalemate (fwd)
Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 14:04:23 -0400 (EDT)
From: Don Beaver <[email protected]>
Sender: [email protected]
M Taylor writes:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> P.S. If anyone happens to be fluent in German, maybe you could help us
> by translating, or summarizing, in English:
I don't make any claim to real fluency in German (I never took
a class), so there may be mistakes. But I think this is pretty
Journalist Trade Union Protests the Cancellation
of Special Arrangements for Encryption Programs
in the Wassenaar Agreement
At a meeting of experts on the Wassenaar Agreement in Vienna,
the cancellation of exceptions for cryptographic public-domain
software and shareware was negotiated. The real goal of the
agreement is the control and transparency of transfers of military
and so-called dual-use goods - products and technologies that can
be used for both military and civilian purposes.
The Wassenaar Agreement lists Information Security and encryption
technology, in the form of software encryption programs or hardware,
under the Dual Use category 5.2.
There are to be further efforts to eliminate the exceptions for
public-domain cryptographic software and shareware (usually free
over the Internet or by CD-ROM distribution), and thereby place
each kind of encryption software under the monitoring and restriction
of the Wassenaar agreement.
The journalist trade union is protesting vehemently, because free
access by journalists and the media to encryption programs is
threatened. Encryption programs play a rapidly increasing role in
the protection of electronic network communications for the media
and jounalists. It is not difficult to monitor electronic mail
automatically and make copies without recipients or senders ever
taking notice. Investigative journalism on organized crime,
corruption, and illegal arms trafficking, for example, may be
endangered by the lack of protected communication, because the
privacy of research is not ensured, especially when it takes
Not only will editorial privacy be damaged but also the protection
of information sources, as well as the protection of the private
sphere. Not only must the protection of communication between
journalists and media be ensured but also between journalists
and media and their information sources, which cannot be limited
to a special circle of acquaintances.
Attempts to permit programs that just encode with a key whose
duplicate is placed with authorities cannot provide a way out.
With such duplicate keys, all encoded messages can be decoded.
But there is no guarantee that this duplicate key will not
arrive in the unauthorized hands of organized crime, for example,
or that is it not used by individual members of the authority
or intelligence services in an unauthorized manner.
The information surrounding the Wassenaar Agreement is also
precarious: at present, each discussion in the Wassenaar Agreement
falls under the privacy of "privileged diplomatic communication"
(Point IX) and the application of resolutions are to be implemented
using "national discretion" (Point II.3).
Thus, the targets of the Wassenaar Agreement are counterproductive(?):
companies whose doubtful weapons shipments were forbidden remain
spared from public criticism, just like failed decisions.
<H3>Therefore the journalist trade union demands:</H3>
Elimination of cryptography from the list of "dual-use" goods
entered by the Wassenaar Agreement. No limitation of cryptography
to insecure (respectively, key duplication/escrow) encryption
Democratic control/monitoring of the Wassenaar Agreement: No modification
of the rules and jurisdiction of the Wassenaar Agreement without prior
Obligatory public reporting on activities in the context of the
--- end forwarded text
Robert A. Hettinga <mailto: [email protected]>
Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism <http://www.philodox.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'