Wassenaar Agreement Cryptography

In accordance with the General Software Notices, Entry 2, the Agreement does not apply to software that is „in the public domain“. This is defined in the definitions as technology or software that has been made available without restriction in its further distribution. There is also a statement that copyright per se does not deprive a program of this „public domain“ status. Crypto export is the transfer of devices and technologies related to cryptographic technology from one country to another. This is the so-called Wassenaar Arrangement, an international agreement on which the proposed US rules are based. Other countries are developing their own rules around VA, which could put researchers abroad in the same troubled boat as in the United States. A close look at the Wassenaar arrangement shows that it does not provide a basis for export controls that harm or impede civilian activities, but that is exactly what existing cryptography controls do. Fortunately, many countries now recognize this and no longer use the Wassenaar arrangement to justify controls that are so clearly in line with its provisions. However, the inconsistency between nations creates many difficulties and leaves suppliers from countries that apply strict controls at a huge disadvantage compared to those operating elsewhere. This inconsistency completely undermines every conceivable value such controls might have. Under these circumstances, it is impossible to justify crypto export controls as in any way supporting the objectives of the Wassenaar Arrangement.

Even senior U.S. government officials are willing to accept that such controls are ineffective for their intended purposes, and William Reinsch, head of the U.S. Bureau of Export Administration, clearly admitted this in response to a question from the author at the recent EPIC crypto conference in Washington DC. It should also be noted that a U.S. National Research Council report on cryptography policy, commissioned by the U.S. government and published in 1996, concluded that „the benefits of a broader use of cryptography completely outweigh the disadvantages.“ The Wassenaar Arrangement, also known as export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technology, is an international arms control agreement between 41 countries, including most western and eastern European countries and the United States. The Vasenar Agreement is an agreement between countries on the import and export of arms and related technologies. Encryption is considered a „related technology“. This paper examines the current export controls on crypto products in the context of the objectives set out in the Wassenaaar Agreement, the international agreement in which they are pursued. .

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