[Cryptography] $750k Fine for exporting crypto

Bear 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.



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