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Re: German government press release on Wassenaar (fwd)



Forwarded message:

> Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 15:33:10 +0100
> From: "Albert P. Franco, II" <[email protected]>
> Subject: Re: German government press release on Wassenaar (fwd)

> I think the key idea which allows Open Source to be exempted is based on
> the availability to all eyes of the technology--not the legal rights
> attached to the software.
> 
> The fact that the knowledge contained in Open Source software is available
> to all is the key. The legal right to use that knowledge is not quite the
> issue. If the knowledge in the software becomes "common knowledge" then
> defining its (illegal) export becomes extremely difficult.

The problem I see with this is that the knowledge about the crypto system
doesn't come from the source but rather from the mathematics that it is
founded upon.

If this line of reasoning is followed to its logical conclusion then
publishing a paper on the algorithm also transmits that knowledge making
particular knowledge of the software (ie whether I used a do-loop instead of
a if statement) rather irrelevant. Now if it's not the particulars of the
implimentation that we're protecting and it's not the mathematics itself
then exactly what is it that we're protecting by imposing these closed
source limitations? It looks to me like an unintentional(?) attempt to put
commercial closed source crypto out of business. Under these regulations
doesn't it mean that any business that isn't OS faces additional hurdles in
its operation? Any business that is OS faces the problem of income stream
which still isn't completely worked out for OS companies. This implies a
longer time to market for OS crypto products.

Also, since the source of PGP has always been avaiable doesn't this now make
it permissible to export without restriction?


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