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Re: What was the quid pro quo for Wassenaar countries?



Sprach John Gilmore <[email protected]>:
> 	*  And what did NSA offer, to convince many countries to
> 	   directly contradict policies that they had arrived at
> 	   during year-long public consultations with their own citizens?

Call me hopelessly paranoid, but I'm betting that none or nearly none
of the governments in the world want unrestricted crypto.  Hell, I'm
betting that none of the governments in the world are particularly
happy that crypto expertise exists outside of secretive government
research projects and intelligence agencies.  If they could go back to
the secret government-only crypto environment from before and during
WWII, they'd be ecstatic.  Public crypto expertise makes it hard for
governments to keep secrets from each other and their people, it makes
it (relatively) easy for the public to keep secrets from their
government, and in general makes governments REALLY nervous.

Sure, they talked with their people and the people were clear that
_they_ wanted unrestricted crypto.  And so the governments (those few
who actually pay attention to their public) made statements and passed
laws in support of unrestricted crypto... but their arms were being
twisted the whole time, and they were Displeased(tm).

If my statements have any bearing in reality, then it wouldn't take
very much lobbying at all on the NSA's part to convince the wassenaar
countries to change the agreement to restrict or totally ban crypto.
This lets the various governments go back to their people and claim
that they don't have any choice: wassenaar forces them to restrict
crypto... sorry.  The fact that most (almost certainly all) countries
don't act on treaties until (and if) they have passed implementing
legislation is completely lost on the people.  After all, a treaty is
a treaty, right?  It's like a contract between two people, except it's
between countries, right?  So they've agreed: why do we need laws to
implement it?  [I know those last three statements are false, but they
accurately represent the attitudes of all the people with whom I've
discussed the issue of treaty implementation.]

More and more, I see that treaties are no longer tools to create
agreement among governments, but are tools to allow governments to
sidestep the political costs associated with acting against their own
people's express desires.  For a very long time now, it has _appeared_
that European and North American governments agree with each other far
more readily than they agree with their own people.

-- 
Jon Paul Nollmann ne' Darren Senn                      [email protected]
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