www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> openly denied digest [hwang, byfield, cramer]
nettime's_open_EAR on Sun, 7 Sep 2003 23:46:44 +0200 (CEST)


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

<nettime> openly denied digest [hwang, byfield, cramer]


Re: <nettime> Open Source and Denied Parties
     Francis <sera {AT} fhwang.net>
     t byfield <tbyfield {AT} panix.com>
     Florian Cramer <cantsin {AT} zedat.fu-berlin.de>

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2003 10:17:51 -0400
Subject: Re: <nettime> Open Source and Denied Parties
From: Francis <sera {AT} fhwang.net>

That Google Groups discussion was pretty dispiriting, I have to admit.  
But then, just because somebody's an open source programmer doesn't  
mean he's not an asshole, too. They come in all stripes.

It's worth noting that a good number of programmers in the open source  
world don't follow the ideological lines of open source as delineated  
by academics and legal theorists. For them, open source is simply what  
works.

Mozilla's a big organization, incorporated as a U.S.-based  
not-for-profit, and they have to follow these sorts of laws. It was  
suggested in that Google Groups thread that Moz could package a build  
without crypto so people could use a plugin on their own. That's a good  
idea, and it's a shame none of the Moz developers wanted to pick it up.  
But being that this is open source it would be relatively easy for  
somebody to distribute such builds themselves. The fact that nobody has  
done so so far -- there are more than 20 independent Moz-based projects  
-- suggests to me that not a lot of people feel that they are directly  
affected by this problem.

F.

On Sunday, September 7, 2003, at 03:54  AM, auskadi wrote:

> I just went to check out some buggy thing in my inability to open some
> attachments in my Mozilla mail that get sent to me from a mac ... I
> started here:
 <...>

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2003 11:58:22 -0400
From: t byfield <tbyfield {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Open Source and Denied Parties

auskadi {AT} tvcabo.co.mz (Sun 09/07/03 at 09:54 AM +0200):

> Sort of funny approach ... "the source shall be free but only free to 
> those that the Bush/Cheny Junta tell us are free"....

i suppose you can blame bush/cheney for this law because they happen 
to be the current occupants of CEO position in the USA, but in point 
of fact these terms are more liberal than they used to be.

      * This source code is subject to the U.S. Export Administration
        Regulations and other U.S. law, and may not be exported or
        re-exported to certain countries (currently Afghanistan (Taliban
        controlled areas), Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and
        Syria) or to persons or entities prohibited from receiving U.S.
        exports (including Denied Parties, entities on the Bureau of
        Export Administration Entity List, and Specially Designated
        Nationals).

specifically, it seems that you can now export cryptographic software 
to non-taliban-controlled areas of afghanistan. that's new. however, 
if the administration wants to 'go there' in the sense of incrementally 
adding new areas where crypto is permitted, they'd better start includ-
ing auto-updating live links in the EAR (Export Administration Regula-
tions) language. and, judging by the fortunes of the current US military 
adventures, their system for updating those links had better be, uh, 
'scalable and robust,' because it'll get a real workout.

anyway, this is just the latest devolution of a kind of law that's been
on the books more in the US since 1943, under the theory -- which, his-
torically is correct, imo -- that cryptography is (de facto, not ipso
facto) military technology. that's changed quite a bit; the laws haven't. 
(iirc, it isn't even really a law per se -- it's a regulation renewed 
each year under some '30s-era 'emergency' act.) 

these rules are interesting because they reveal a surprisingly 'medieval' 
map of the world: 'there be dragons hyer,' where 'hyer' = [axis of evil,
luxury edition]. obviosuly, as rules, they're very broken: iraqi WMDs
were presented as grounds for a US/UK invasion, NK is about to detonate
a nuke, libya has complied+ with decades of US demands, iran was head-
ing in the direction of deeply cosmopolitan generation, etc -- and the 
US wants to make sure they only get decoder rings from breakfast cereals.

the vast gap separating these rules from the world they purport to govern
reminds me, in a way, of the recent squabble over DARPA's 'policy action
market.' that project was predicated on the fantasy that 'markets' are 
better than any other mechanism for predicting outcomes, and therefore 
we need to set one up to do so -- never mind that we already have zillions
of markets that, evidently, failed to recognize (a) the need for such a 
market and/or (b) their own potential to serve as predictive mechanisms.
like many things, this neoliberal fantasy carries more than a whiff of 
marxism warmed over with its normative indicators inverted (i.e., good
becomes bad and vice versa): just as the infinitely transpersonal laboring 
masses never really could get it together to constitute a coherent sub-
ject, neither shall 'the markets.' 

and so with cryptography: efforts by, truly, very open nations such as 
the US to prevent very closed nations from getting their grubby mitts on 
tools to keep things closed. effective? nope. enforced? barely. where 
were you when you were asked to agree to this license? mozambique? eek.

why *should* OS/F programmers get worked up over these laws? because 
they're there?

cheers,
t

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2003 19:35:32 +0200
From: Florian Cramer <cantsin {AT} zedat.fu-berlin.de>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Open Source and Denied Parties


Am Sonntag, 07. September 2003 um 09:54:50 Uhr (+0200) schrieb auskadi:
 
> Some guy/genius here seems to think that  the U.S. Export Administration 
> Regulations is not a GNU/Open Source issue.
> 
> Sort of funny approach ... "the source shall be free but only free to 
> those that the Bush/Cheny Junta tell us are free"....

Unfortunately, export regulations are superimposed to any 
distribution of software, be it free or non-free. Free cryptographic
software like PGP and SSH are prime examples because until recently,
they couldn't be legally exported from the U.S. at all so that it had to
be developed either outside the U.S. or exported using tricky
circumvention methods (like printing sourcecode in a book).

Free/open source software can not rule out the legal framework it is
being developed and distributed within, so it can only be as free as the
law permits (just as Free Software copylefts exist only within the
boundaries of current copyright legislation).

-F

-- 
http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~cantsin/homepage/
http://www.complit.fu-berlin.de/institut/lehrpersonal/cramer.html
GnuPG/PGP public key ID 3200C7BA, finger cantsin {AT} mail.zedat.fu-berlin.de

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net