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LYNX-DEV Lynx & US Govt (was SSL for Lynx 2.8)

From: Philip Webb
Subject: LYNX-DEV Lynx & US Govt (was SSL for Lynx 2.8)
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 09:43:05 -0500 (EST)

980308 Thomas Dickey wrote:
> 980308 Nelson Henry Eric wrote: 
> > *Just putting the hooks* in there would destroy Lynx because it would no
> > longer be freely available to anyone in the world.  Plus anyone who did it
> > and indiscriminately distributed Lynx might land in prison for a LONG time.
> > Let's just keep hoping the US government will come to its senses someday.
> well, I won't argue - it'd take a bit of work to determine
> where the actual threshold applies,
> and I've dealt with enough 'security' types to know
> that rational discourse does not get anywhere.
i DON'T want to start too frisky a hare,
but those of us outside the USA do get a little prickly
about the fact that US government policy & laws seem to be interfering
with the free functioning of a product of model international co-operation,
ie Lynx as being developed by lynx-dev subscribers.
Canadians especially get very prickly very quickly
when US laws or law-enforcement appear to ignore their sovereignty:
US diplomats are well aware of this, but lower-level enforcement types,
Senators from S Carolina & the like are prone to forget it sometimes.
it's not just Canada: the EU too resents deeply the Helms-Burton Act.

not living there, i don't know how far some of the reactions re Lynx-SSL
are paranoia -- that's how it looks from here -- or how far they reflect
a more ruthless approach to law-enforcement by government in the USA.
Canadian regulations -- not law -- restrict re-export of US products
if that would break US law, but it seems very doubtful they would be enforced
unless (1) the US government requested it & (2) the recipients were
really bad people, eg terrorists or drug-traders: in other cases,
Canadian public opinion would not tolerate what it would see
as persecution of Canadians at the behest of a foreign police agency.

so shouldn't the Lynx development co-operative, as an international effort
working by consensus, find a way for the SSL hooks to be freely available
from some site outside the USA, if possible?

the copyright issue is quite separate & i have argued recently on lynx-dev
that it is moot in this case, since no-one is likely to try to enforce it,
but it does admittedly raise ethical questions of a different kind.

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