Encryption Regulations

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Wed, 1 Jan 1997 22:53:40 -0800 (PST)


On Wed, 1 Jan 97 "David Musick" <David_Musick@msn.com> Wrote:

>I was thinking about the guy who distributed PGP anyway, in
>spite of the laws against doing so. He got in some trouble
>for doing so, but what if he had distributed it over the
>Internet, through anonymous remailers, so no one would know
>who sent it? All he really has to do is get it to someone
>outside of the United States and let *them* distribute the
>software far and wide.

That's exactly what Philip Zimmermann, the man who wrote PGP did. Zimmermann
gave PGP to a man who gave it to someone who gave it to someone who gave it
to someone who sent it to a foreign country, I think it was New Zealand.
It didn't help, the U.S. government still wanted to put Zimmermann in jail,
they said he should have made sure everybody he gave PGP to did not send it
out of the country or give it to somebody who would. Please don't ask me to
explain the logic of this, in retrospect I don't think they ever intended to
bring it to trial, they didn't need to in order to punish Zimmermann and warn
others about doing anything similar.

Zimmermann was not a rich man and he ended up with a second mortgage on his
house and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to pay for his legal bills.
Zimmermann also had the worry of going to the penitentiary hanging over his
head for three years until they finely dropped the charges. The point was well
made, don't mess with Big Brother.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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