Re: Ex Underground

Dan Clemmensen (
Tue, 10 Mar 1998 20:11:27 -0500

Michael Lorrey wrote:

> Dan Clemmensen wrote:
> > Yak Wax wrote:
> >
> > > A few people on this list, myself included, have commented on taking
> > > illegal research underground and possibly attempting to control
> > > political movements that may counter progress. And while it may be
> > > futile to even try this, it has a certain undeniable appeal. Besides,
> > > why do we all seem so intent on obeying the law? Nobody's holding a
> > > gun to your head!
> [snip]
> > At least in the U.S., it is a felony to participate in a conspiracy. If
> > you make
> > an exhortation in an e-mail that somebody else do simething illegal, and
> > the person enetes into a discussion with and subsequently performs that
> > illegal act, then you have technically committed conspiracy. I'm less
> > clear
> > on whether or not the other participants in the discussion are also guilty
> >
> > of consciracy, but they might be. In light of this, please hold such
> > discussions
> > only among those who wish to be involved. Thanks.
> Since it isn't illegal right now for private citizens to clone, then it can't
> be conspiracy to do so right now.

Agreed, in this case. However Yak's statement was general. Clearly,it cloning is
not illegal, then advocacy of cloning is not illegal and discussions
are not illegal.

> Besides, there can be a decent case made that the federal prosecution of
> public email discussions as conspiracy, if and when it becomes illegal, for
> cloning in private could be found to be capricious enforcement, since the past
> few years millions, if not billions of email messages have been sent across
> the US, and across our internaitonal borders which contained the
> RC4-3lines-PERL encryption algorythm. That they have not prosecuted one person
> who engaged in this mass act of civil disobedience is a significant precedent
> against their use of public mail list messages as evidence of conspiracy. That
> this discussion is public, and not private, indicates that this is more of a
> forum for public protest than secretive conspiracy.

The Johnson and Nixon administrations prosecuted the "Chicago Seven"
on criminal conspiracy charges, even though some of them had never
met or communicated with each other person-to-person. They engaged
in their conspiracy using the news media. Apparently, secrecy is not
a requirement. I personally thought this was a farce, but I'm not a
prosecutor. I devoutly hope that e-mail discussions and all other forms
of speech remain as free as possible. I'm merely pointing out the
law as I (a layman) understand it.