Daniel Bernstein vs. the Justice Department
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 10 May 99 12:52:03 -0700
Subject: Daniel Bernstein vs. the Justice Department
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Math professor wins landmark crypto ruling
By Courtney Macavinta
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
May 6, 1999, 4:25 p.m. PT
U.S. export limits on encryption are unconstitutional, the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals ruled in a precedent-setting decision today.
In a 2-to-1 vote, a federal panel affirmed U.S. District Judge Marilyn
Patel's 1997 landmark ruling in Daniel Bernstein vs. the Justice Department.
That decision states that software source code is a language, and therefore
the export controls violate the University of Illinois math professor's
First Amendment right.
Bernstein had wanted to post crypto code on his Web site as part of an
international course he teaches, but was blocked by a Clinton administration
policy regulating software cryptotography as falling within the interests
of national security.
Today's loss for the government is no doubt a blow to the administration's
policy. Legal experts say the ruling is a huge endorsement for online
privacy and essentially applies to anyone who wants to post crypto source
code--without a license--from within the Ninth Circuit. Although the opinion
doesn't apply to off-the-shelf products, companies such as Pretty Good
Privacy (PGP), which is based in California, could get regulatory relief,
because its source code is freely available around the world.
© 1999 Peter Langston