[Cryptography] $750k Fine for exporting crypto
bear at sonic.net
Tue Nov 4 22:25:17 EST 2014
On Wed, 2014-11-05 at 07:41 +1300, Peter Gutmann wrote:
> Jeroen van der Ham <jeroen at dckd.nl> writes:
> >That's not a crypto issue, that's broader Sino-American politics. Everything
> >else seemed tacked on out of necessity.
> That was my feeling too when this was first reported: Someone's being hit with
> the crypto-controls universal hammer for something else, either something
> they've done or something they're not doing ("we want you to do X for us, it'd
> be a real shame if we suddenly found out that one of your products violated
> some export control or other"). These things don't just suddenly pop up for
> no reason...
Y'know what? If they popped up for no reason other than "they broke
the law" -- even when I think that particular law is stupid -- I'd
really prefer that situation to one where people get picked out
for enforcement based on political connections or degree of covert
I think the US is drifting dangerously far from the ideal of a rule
of law. You know, where the law is the same for everybody, no matter
how much you contributed to somebody's political campaign, no matter
whether you're sitting in an expensive government office, no matter
how much money you make, no matter whether you're cooperating in
attempts to subvert the law against other citizens and no matter
whether you're saying something unpopular?
Increasingly, we're behaving more like China, where they have a rule
BY law instead; where the law is a tool for the powerful corrupt to
extract rents, to extort perks, to take revenge, to enforce covert
or personal policies by selectively enforcing overt public law, etc.
I know there's always some of this kind of slime under the corners
when you have too close a look at any government, and always has
been. But really, a rule of law IS achievable, and when it's working
it means that shit is the exception rather than the norm, and that
abusing the law that way is a crime which entails a genuine risk
of getting caught, being publicly prosecuted, and going to the
same jail where you've been putting your victims.
A stupid law can be oppressive, which is bad enough, but corruption
is a pure poison that can suck the life out of an entire country,
breeds domestic terrorists like flies, and generally drives us
slowly down the road toward bloody revolution. Stupid laws
make me roll my eyes, file amicus briefs, write congresspeople,
etc... Today it made me vote for several minor-party candidates
where incumbents who favor stupid policies had no major-party
opposition. But corruption is altogether darker and the slowly
rising tide we've been on for the last couple of decades makes
me fear for my long-term safety.
I say enforce it uniformly or repeal it. Every law that isn't
uniformly and promptly enforced, all the time, contributes to
public corruption because selective enforcement means someone
is using it for blackmail or extortion -- and probably thinks
"that's what it's for" meaning blackmail and extortion have
become the norm. So yes, the whole damn thing from prostitution
to labor laws to export restrictions to monopoly busters. If
you're not going to enforce it for everybody, all the time, then
get rid of it so you don't have the temptation to become corrupt
as you use it for blackmail, extortion, revenge, or for the
harassment of dissenters.
More information about the cryptography