[Cryptography] Cryptography, backdoors and the Second Amendment

Lodewijk andré de la porte l at odewijk.nl
Sat Oct 11 22:28:43 EDT 2014

On Oct 11, 2014 7:55 PM, "Benjamin Kreuter" <brk7bx at virginia.edu> wrote:
> On Fri, 2014-10-10 at 00:36 +0100, Alfie John wrote:
> > As the US State Department classifies cryptography as a munition,
> > shouldn't the use of cryptography be protected under the 2nd Amendment?
> 1. The second amendment is not without limits.  You cannot possess a
> machine gun without a license, for example.  The second amendment is not
> a free pass to possess or distribute arms.

I never understood this though! Doesn't it significantly weaken the second
amendment? What could weigh up to constitutional values, and who is
authorized to judge? Please don't say politicians...

> 2. The classification is only relevant for exporting a product from the
> USA.  Nothing stops you from possessing or distributing cryptography
> within the US.

Which is probably the only reason for the classification anyway (that and
how useful it is!).

> Really though, that classification is an anachronism that predates PCs
> and the Internet.  Instead of invoking it (which is a kind of
> endorsement), we should be trying to get rid of it entirely.  We need to
> make the case that cryptography is not some kind of military device, but
> a necessity in a computerized society as a low-cost safeguard against
> various abuses and crimes.  Calling cryptography "munitions" is as
> absurd as calling combination locks "munitions," and that point needs to
> be driven home.

It makes little difference. This is about current law. I'm sure the world
would be a better place if we left it to the right people, but who could
the right people be?

> > If so, as the NSA continues its concerted effort to cripple encryption
> > by providers [3] [4], shouldn't this be seen as the equivalent of the
> > Department of Justice colluding with Smith & Wesson to manufacture guns
> > that don't shoot straight and bullets that don't fire?
> What makes you think that laws matter when it comes to the NSA?

So, is there an accuracy difference in military and non military S&M

> They openly ignored a court order, and nothing happened.  Their leadership
> lied to Congress, and nothing happened.  They have conspired with
> federal, state, and even local police forces and prosecutors to break
> the law, and nothing happened.  Lawsuits are shut down in the name of
> secrecy.

It's probable they had a very serious internal discussion about these
things. I also suspect many others wanted to affect change but that they
found things became very hard for them from that point forward. (Please,
someone get this reference!)

> We are past the point of legal arguments.  We should think of the NSA as
> we would think of the Chinese government: big, scary, actively working
> to subvert computer security, and beyond the reach of the law.

For me it's both foreign superpowers with nukes and a lot of people
beleving in very self-justified governments. Although, that's the US and
China, not the NSA seperately.

Thing is, the NSA is just another program on USGOV payroll. Theoretically
democratic parts of the government can indeed shut it down. I just think
the NSA is too influential and self-serving to let that happen. Which sort
of means the NSA runs the nation. But, of course, that's a carefully
curated image that may be a total fiction.

So, should we treat them as a theoretical adversary and move on? Advocate
against them at every opportunity, but just, move on?
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