[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

(Fwd) Building crypto archives worldwide to foil US-built Berl

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
To:            cryptography@c2.net, gnu@toad.com
Subject:       Building crypto archives worldwide to foil US-built Berlin Walls
Date:          Mon, 07 Dec 1998 15:23:54 -0800
From:          John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com>

The US Wassenaar initiative is an attempt to deny the public not only
all future strong crypto developments, but all existing ones.  As
today's message from Denmark makes clear, the freedom-hating
bureaucrats are threatening to prosecute a citizen merely for
publishing PGP on his web page.

Let's at least ensure that they don't eliminate *today's* strong
crypto, by replicating crypto archives behind each Berlin Wall they
threaten to erect.  Today we depend on a small number of archives (in
a small number of countries) containing source and binaries for PGP,
SSH, Kerberos, cryptoMozilla, IPSEC, and many other useful crypto
tools that we use daily.

Let's replicate these archives in many countries.  I call for
volunteers in each country, at each university or crypto-aware
organization, to download crypto tools while they can still be
exported from where they are, and then to offer them for export from
your own site and your own country as long as it's legal.  (The
Wassenaar agreement is not a law; each country has merely agreed to
try to change its own laws, but that process has not yet started.)

And if at some future moment your own government makes it illegal for
you to publish these tools, after all your appeals are denied, all the
pro-bono court cases rejected, and all the newspaper coverage you can
get has been printed, then restrict your web site so that only your
own citizens can get the tools.  That'll still be better than the
citizens of your country having NO access to the tools of privacy!

(I suggest putting these tools on a Web site on a machine that you
own, rather than on a web site where you buy space from someone else.
That way there'll be nobody for the freedom-squashers to threaten
except you.)

I'm sure that John Young's excellent http://jya.com site will be happy
to provide an index of crypto archives around the world, if people
will send him notices at jya@pipeline.com as your sites come up. (Each
archive should locally mirror this list, so that we won't depend on a
single site.)

Rather than having their desired effect of squelching crypto
distribution, perhaps their overbold move can inspire us to increase
strong crypto distribution tenfold, by making it clear to the public
that if you don't keep a copy on your own hard drive, the governments
of the world will be merciless in scheming to deny you access to it.
And if crypto developers have to publish on books, or rely on
smugglers to get crypto from country to country, then at least each
country will have its distribution arrangements already ready for when
the book is scanned or the smuggler arrives.

 John Gilmore