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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject RE: 18 Jan 2012: SOPA and PIPA Protest Banner
Date Wed, 18 Jan 2012 21:14:18 GMT
Answering my own question a little:

In the previous part of the 3-part EFF article, it is mentioned that making it 
difficult to discover whether some content is infringing can be a violation of 

Whether this can reach beyond a suspicious use of encryption to the software 
used to perform encryption and the format of the encryption is not clear.

This raises a common problem about the fact of encryption being a smoking gun 
for intervention without protections of due process (and privacy in 
confidential communications).

That is worrisome by itself, although I can see easier ridiculous cases.  For 
example, consider a privately-shared folder on Windows Live Skydrive involving 
no encryption there but with commonly used encryption for transport-level 

An ODF package can already be used for encryption and communication of a 
pirated digital work.  Should all implementers of the encryption provisions be 
worried?  Probably not.

[It may still be very sloppy law and any self-deputizing of vigilante 
enforcers is a terrible notion.]

 - Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis E. Hamilton []
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:42
Subject: RE: 18 Jan 2012: SOPA and PIPA Protest Banner

I agree that the EFF tends to go hyperbolic.  The only specific case mentioned
is the anti-circumvention aspect of the DMCA.

But providing encryption software is not a way to circumvent DRM.

This passage is peculiar: " Essentially any software product or service, such
as many encryption programs, that is not responsive to blocking orders could
be under threat."

I am left puzzled about what is a blocking order against a software product,
and how do SOPA/PIPA reach there?  What does it mean for a software product to
be non-responsive?

If anyone has an explanation tied to details in the proposed legislation, it
would be interesting to know if there is then a matter for ASF concern.

(I am not in favor of SOPA/PIPA; I am in favor of getting the facts straight.)

 - Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Donald Whytock []
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 11:39
Subject: Re: 18 Jan 2012: SOPA and PIPA Protest Banner

Including the list this time.  Watch those reply-tos, Dennis...:)

On Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 1:53 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton
<> wrote:
> Don,
> What's your understanding of the connection between open-source encryption
> algorithms and SOPA/PIPA?  Where is there more information available?

This was the EFF article I saw on the topic:

It's a little alarmist, but the general tone is that if some idiot can
think there's any relationship between software that hides information
and efforts to circumvent DNS censorship, the site that provides said
software can find itself blocked.

Feel free to substitute "government official" for "idiot" as needed.
Seriously, how many politicians do you know that really know what
security software does?  They don't have to be right.  They just have
to have the authority.

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