Commerce Department encryption rules declared unconstitutional

Declan McCullagh declan at
Tue Aug 26 06:28:16 PDT 1997

I think that's about right. One of the important questions was how broadly
Patel would rule, whether her ruling would apply just to Bernstein &
associates or whether she would enjoin the government from enforcing
ITAR/EAR at all.

Unfortunately, she chose the former. But look on the bright side: her
narrow decision may be less likely to be reversed, no?


On Mon, 25 Aug 1997, Jonathan Wienke wrote:
> >Patel barred the government from "threatening, detaining,
> >prosecuting, discouraging, or otherwise interfering with" anyone
> >"who uses, discusses, or publishes or seeks to use, discuss or
> >publish plaintiff's encryption programs and related materials."
> >Daniel Bernstein, now a math professor at the University of
> >Illinois, filed the lawsuit with the help of the Electronic
> >Frontier Foundation.
> So if someone posts a few lines of source code to coderpunks, the
> government reserves the right to prosecute, unless the poster's name is
> Daniel Bernstein, and the algorithm is Snuffle 5.0.  The judge seems to be
> saying "I think Bernstein's case has merit, so I will order the government
> to stop hassling him, but since I am too chickenbleep to challenge the
> unconstitutional usurpation of power on the part of Clinton, Congress, the
> State Dept., and the Dept. of Commerce, I will pass the buck and let the
> issue be decided on appeal."  The decision seems to be a step in the right
> direction, but a VERY small one.

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