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

From: Mark H. Wood
Subject: Re: LYNX-DEV Lynx & US Govt (was SSL for Lynx 2.8)
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 08:07:02 -0500 (EST)

On Mon, 9 Mar 1998, T.E.Dickey wrote:

> > On Mon, 9 Mar 1998, Philip Webb wrote:
> > 
> > > 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?
> > 
> > Who prosecutes cases of munitions export?  Is there actually a human I can
> > ask if distributing lynx w/ssl is ok?  
> probably not - the system works by implying a threat to the distributors
> and ftp sites (so that end is self-regulating).  On the other end, you'll
> rarely find someone who's both willing to spend the time on something like
> Lynx (where no money is involved), and able to "make" the decision. 

My understanding is that the State Department makes up the bad-boys list, 
and the Department of Commerce implements that and other regulations by 
refusing export licenses for proscribed technology.  So Commerce enforces 
the law but doesn't write it.  And since *national security* is invoked, 
the guys who'll come to collect you if you break the law probably aren't 
even mentioned in the Federal budget.

> So - unless you got lucky and met the right person, or happened to fall into
> some category that carries you along, it'll take a good bit of work to
> point out the obvious (putting ifdef's in Lynx to make library calls to
> SSLeay doesn't disclose any of the encryption algorithms).

Again, my understanding only -- even putting in "hooks" for encryption is 
verboten.  The library calls must remain patches, not be absorbed into 
the base code, or the whole product is tainted.

If you want a more reliable interpretation, see a lawyer with 
import/export experience.

I find the whole thing exasperating too.  It's amazing how hard some 
people work to avoid understanding the strengths and weaknesses of 

Mark H. Wood, Lead System Programmer   address@hidden
One more time:  a (level-2) switch is a bridge.  A "level-3 switch" is
a router.  Deal with it.

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