(I’m sure that most of the stuff I post today is not of particular news interest to anyone, but I need to maintain my archives.)
Declan’s piece from earlier in the week on Congressional insanity in the digital communications space remains troubling, especially with the apparent crackdowns coming elsewhere - A new tech battle brews in D.C.
The fine print says huge categories of software–including Web browsers, instant messaging clients and e-mail utilities–that are offered for download must contain a warning that it “could create a security and privacy risk.”
And the catch? If the companies or individuals who offer the software for download don’t comply with the requirement, they will face criminal penalties such as fines or prison terms of up to six months. Even, that is, if the software is actually secure and poses no security risk.
[...] Unfortunately, this has become Congress’ usual pattern: A knee-jerk response that overreacts to a perceived technological problem. Instead of taking a thoughtful, careful approach, clue-impaired Congress critters do things like enact the Communications Decency Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which SunnComm Technologies used last week to threaten a Princeton University student. (Trivia: Did you know that on Sept. 11, 1997, a House committee voted to ban all encryption products without backdoors for the FBI?)