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Big Brother is watching

Posted by rags on March 19, 2004 at 6:41 AM PST

The Chinese Government is insisting that wi-fi chipmakers must bundle a properiatary encryption software not only to make the chips in China but also to be able to sell units made of these chips to the Chinese market. This piece of software has not undergone public scrutiny and select companies within China have special access to it. See http://wifinetnews.com/archives/003051.html. This reeks of Government control and invasion of privacy with accusations that the software may contain a backdoor. Starting with wi-fi chips, who knows where this will end?

As Java developers, the historical distinction between JCA and JCE has largely been as a result of the US export control Laws. Prior to year 2000, many companies provided clean room implementations of JCE until Sun was able to export the framework while still be seen as compliant with the US export control laws. See
http://java.sun.com/products/jce/jce-rsa2000-html-files/rsaSlides.ppt.htm

Steven Levy details the clipper chip controversy and other interesting crypto trivia in his book Crypto. The book talks about how the cryptographers eventually prevailed over relentless Governmental pressure.

However, will the Chinese Government win this round that the US Government never could largely because of it's might and willingness to wage a war of attrition on the Multinational companies who have larger battles to fight at the moment? It's a really scary thought and outcome with possibly much wider ramifications.

Rags

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