[Cryptography] Cryptography, backdoors and the Second Amendment

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Fri Oct 10 16:53:43 EDT 2014

On Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 7:36 PM, Alfie John <alfiej at fastmail.fm> wrote:
> After the Apple encryption announcement, we had the usual pundits bring
> up the Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse [1]:
>   "Attorney General Eric Holder, the US top law enforcement official,
>   said it is "worrisome" that tech companies are providing default
>   encryption on consumer electronics. Locking the authorities out of
>   being able to physically access the contents of devices puts children
>   at risk, he said.
>   ...
>   Holder said he wants a backdoor to defeat encryption. He urged the
>   tech sector "to work with us to ensure that law enforcement retains
>   the ability, with court-authorization, to lawfully obtain information
>   in the course of an investigation, such as catching kidnappers and
>   sexual predators."
> After reading Keybase cofounder Chris Coyne's response to the backdoor
> nonsense, it got me thinking about cryptography and the Second
> Amendment:
>   "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free
>   state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be
>   infringed."
> As the US State Department classifies cryptography as a munition,
> shouldn't the use of cryptography be protected under the 2nd Amendment?

Though it is perhaps helpful for them to make such classification here:
a) that's in regards largely to exports, not internal use
b) the phrase is 'arms shall not', not 'things on our list shall not', so
any such classification list is irrelevent. Ignoring the NBC / large arms
debate, crypto is clearly small arms in this context and thus shall not
be infringed.
Crypto is also clearly necessary to the security of a free people, and thus
of/to the state being of the people. And shy of state failure requiring its use
in support of revolt, crypto is clearly a defensive arm primarily against
encroachment. In current example, mass surveillance, lack of individualized
warrant, abuse of process, abuse of implied right to privacy, of the 1st, 4th
and 5th, etc.

It would certainly be an interesting use/case/argument to explore and test.

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