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Date: 1999-06-22

Krypto/export: Fall Bernstein wieder aufgerollt, DOJ gibt nicht auf

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Das Department of Justice gibt im Fall Bernstein nicht auf und ficht
das unlängst gefällt Urteil des 9th Circuit an.

Drei Richter hatten entschieden, daß die von der Clinton-
Administration forcierten Exportbeschränkungen für Kryptographie
gegen das Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung verstoßen und
erkannten das Recht des Programmierers Daniel Bernstein an, den
von ihm geschriebenen Source/code eines Krypto/programms zu

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relayed by Alex Fowler <>

DOJ Seeks Rehearing of Landmark Ruling in Bernstein Encryption

CONTACTS: Cindy Cohn, McGlashan and Sarrail (650) 341-2585; Alex Fowler, Electronic Frontier Foundation
(415) 436-9333, x103;

As expected, the U.S. Government today sought further review by
the 9th Circuit of a 3 judge panel's recent decision holding that the
federal government's regulations of encryption is unconstitutional.
The Petition, which seeks both rehearing from the panel and
rehearing en banc by an 11 judge panel, asserts two basic
arguments, neither of which is new to the case.

The government argues that the 9th Circuit panel incorrectly
determined that the export restrictions on source code are facially
unconstitutional. This argument is based upon an entirely
unsupported assertion that source code is only used expressively
"on occasion."

"This should come as a big surprise to the millions of people who
study, write, read, and develop their ideas using programming
languages," noted lead counsel, Cindy Cohn. "This includes most of
the inhabitants of Silicon Valley, as well as the mathematics,
physics, computer science and other departments of high schools,
universities, and businesses worldwide where such expressions are
written, read, and reviewed daily. It is also is directly contradicted by
evidence included in the record of this case."

The government also argues that the court should have rewritten the
regulations to make them Constitutional rather than strike them
down. By this, the government is asking the Court to step into the
shoes of the agency and rewrite the regulations.

"Obviously this is not a proper role for a court," stated Ms. Cohn.
"Indeed had the Court done so the government would have protested
the 'judicial activism' of the Court. Writing regulations that meet the
constitutional standards for free speech is certainly within the
abilities of the Commerce Department."

"In sum, the Petition for Rehearing is not surprising, nor does it raise
any new arguments," Cohn concluded. "It instead indicates the
intention of the Government to delay justice for Professor Bernstein,
as well as the many others who are restricted by the encryption
regulations, for as long as possible."


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on May 6, 1999 that the
federal government's restrictions on encryption are unconstitutional,
affirming a lower court's ruling that export control over cryptographic
"software and related devices and technology are in violation of the
First Amendment on the grounds of prior restraint."

The case has been sponsored by EFF since 1995 because of its
importance to society, free expression, electronic commerce, and
privacy in the digital


Encryption, the process of coding and decoding computerized
information, is the most critical technological solution to protecting
privacy and keeping computer networks secure. Acknowledging this
point, the appeals court said "[t]he availability and use of secure
encryption may offer an opportunity to reclaim some portion of the
privacy we have lost. Government efforts to control encryption thus
may well implicate not only the First Amendment rights of
cryptographers intent on pushing the boundaries of their science, but
also the constitutional rights of each of us as potential recipients of
encryption's bounty."

The EFF Bernstein legal team consists of: Cindy A. Cohn,
McGlashan & Sarrail; Lee Tien; James Wheaton & Elizabeth
Pritzker, First Amendment Project; Robert Corn-Revere, Hogan &
Hartson; M. Edward Ross, Steefel, Levitt & Weiss; and Dean
Morehous & Sheri A. Byrne, Thelen, Reid and Priest.

Details on the Bernstein case, including information on the lower
court's rulings, are available on the Internet at

* * * * * * * *

The Electronic Frontier Foundation ( is the leading
global organization linking technical architectures and legal
frameworks to support the rights of individuals in an open society.
Founded in 1990, EF
F actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression, privacy, and access in the information society. The Electronic Frontier Foundation maintains the 4th most-linked-to Web site in the

===----------------------------------------------=== Alexander Fowler Director,
Strategic Initiatives Group Electronic Frontier Foundation

E-mail: Tel: 415 436 9333, x103; Fax 415 436 9993

You can find EFF on the Web at <>
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published on: 1999-06-22
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