Re: Transparent society?: Feds raid hobby vendors

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Sat Jan 08 2000 - 13:21:46 MST

On Sat, 8 Jan 2000, Harvey Newstrom wrote:

> Most ham radio operators don't need to hide miniature transmitters that are
> disguised as clocks or smoke detectors. And there is a fine line between
> selling an illegal devices and selling Radio Shack parts and instructions to
> make an illegal device.

Harvey, I'm not sure you aren't stretching over the edge here. There is
a *big* difference between *telling* someone how to build a nuclear weapon
and committing an act of terrorism with one! Now, this opens a very
interesting area, regarding technologies to build weapons. An old quote
in Xenology (by Freitas) that I'm working on says it is a violation of
U.S. Law to disclose information that could be used to build nuclear weapons.
But this would appear that this would be a violation of the right of free speech.
The courts have recently sided with the individual on this with regard to
encryption technology distribution.

Now, going back a few years there was a Ph.D. thesis by an individual at
Princeton that pretty much spilled the beans on the construction of nuclear
weapons. Does anyone know how that played out in the freedom of speech

Mind you, while I'm highly sensitive to people "tapping" my phones,
I'm also very sensitive to the Federal Government restricting the
distribution of technologies. So long as a technology may have
multiple uses, you can only act in a violation of the law (a
violation of privacy) -- not on a "potential" violation of privacy!

If Linda Tripp violated the wire-tapping laws, she deserves to get
burnt. At the same time the government has no business restricting
technologies that allow people to violate those laws (as long as they
have other non-law breaking uses). It is the *act* which counts, not
the *potential* for an act.


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