[Linux-aus] Re: WIPO internet treaties (was something else)

Les Bell lesbell at lesbell.com.au
Tue Feb 10 11:56:01 UTC 2004

David Lloyd <lloy0076 at adam.com.au> wrote:

So if the terrorists who fly planes into buildings are true blue Aussies or
out and out Yanks they can plan their attacks with impunity?


This seems a little odd to me.

Well, they obviously can't *conduct* their attacks with impunity. And, if I
understand it correctly, the act of planning the attacks would constitute
conspiracy, whether encryption was used or not.

On a more serious note, there's quite a good write-up on international
crypto law (including COCOM and the Wassenaar Convention) at
http://rechten.kub.nl/koops/cryptolaw/. Essentially, the State Department
decided to become more pragmatic, back in 1998 and reduce the export
controls on strong encryption. I suspect that the straw that broke the
camel's back might have been the setting up of RSA Australia, using Eric A.
Young's implementation of the various algorithms used in SSL. They might
have been able to block export of those algorithms from the US, but not
from Australia.

I sometimes use AES (a.k.a. Rijndael) these days. A hypothetical computer
that could crack DES in one second would take 149 trillion years to crack a
128-bit AES key. I'd say the strong encryption cat is well and truly out of
the bag. . .


--- Les Bell, RHCE, CISSP

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