Phil Zimmereman PGP case dropped

Michael H. Warfield mhw at
Sat Jan 20 11:39:48 EST 1996

Omar Loggiodice enscribed thusly:
> :
> :My lead defense lawyer, Phil Dubois, received a fax this morning from
> :the Assistant US Attorney in Northern District of California, William
> :Keane.  The letter informed us that I "will not be prosecuted in connection
> :with the posting to USENET in June 1991 of the encryption program
> :Pretty Good Privacy.  The investigation is closed."
> :
> Wow! This is good news....I'm glad to hear about this. I hope the government
> drops the conception that encryption is ammunition (I know, it's like
> wishing for Windoze to be like Linux <grin>). 

	As has been pointed out over on the cypherpunks mailing list -
This is a sham capitulation on the part of the government.  The statute
of limitations was about to run out so they could no longer justify any
further persecution of Phil anyways without admitting it for what it was.

	They never dared take the issue to court.  If they won, it would
only be a minor victory for them (major loss to Phil not withstanding).
If they lost, they would have lost EVERYTHING!  Risk / benefit ratio weight
in heavily against actual prosecution, never mind that the case was a
tissue thin sham.  Their only viable course of action was to persue a
kafkesk persecution of Phil as long as possible to punish him for his
sins, frighten others from following his lead, and discourage widespread
commercialization of their worst fears.

	Their time had simply run out and they took a coward's way out
to avoid losing face.  Much easier to say "we decided not to prosecute",
and try to appear magnanimous, than to let the clock run out and admit
failure and that they never had any intent to prosecute in the first place.

	They basically achieved most of their goals.  They punished him
at will.  They detained him in customs without benefit of an attorney for
hours (they could still do that).  They delayed acceptance of wide spread
use of encryption.  They spread FUD at every opportunity.  They are still
interferring with wide spred acceptance and use of encryption technology
in the commercial world.  The cost to US business has now been documented
in a government report and it's incredible!

	They have only been marginally successful at discouraging others.
Most work is now done over seas anyways.  I've communicated with individuals
in the UK, in Italy, in Finland, and in Australia over encryption software.
Nothing illegal about importing it, testing it, and reporting test results
back.  We just are handcuffed here if we try and develop anything
significant and it gets out of the country.

	A year and a half ago I stood talking with Phil after an Interop
session on the clipper chip and listened to an Government lacky lambast him.
She accused Phil of assisting child molesters, drug dealers, and terrorists.
There was simply nothing so low that these people would not do to paint
Phil and his achievements with a black brush.  I had my own remarks for her.

	The one thing they hadn't expected to achieve, but did, was to turn
Phil into a folk hero.

	Like everyone, I'm incredibly pleased that Phil is no longer under
the shadow of that threat.  But he wasn't going to be there much longer
anyways and the government's actions in this matter remain cowardly and
reprehensible.  AND THEY GOT AWAY WITH IT!

> -- 
> ____________________________________________________________________
>             /   __  __  __  - __  __ / - _  __  ologgio at
>   Omar R.  /__ /_/ /_/ /_/ / /_/ /_/ / /_  /-_  CIS: 74040,1543
>                   __/ __/                         
> ___C++/6_yrs____Virtual Reality/4_yrs____Vorl_____Linux(free)_______
> Never forget either the "Big Picture" or the "Small Picture"...

 Michael H. Warfield    |  (770) 985-6132   |  mhw at
  (The Mad Wizard)      |  (770) 925-8248   |
  NIC whois:  MHW9      |  An optimist believes we live in the best of all
 PGP Key: 0xDF1DD471    |  possible worlds.  A pessimist is sure of it!

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