Domain name policy
See also TBTF for 2000-04-19, 03-31, 1999-12-16, 10-05, 08-30, 08-16, 07-26, 07-19, 07-08, 06-14, 05-22, more...
Cryptography export policy
See also TBTF for 2000-02-06, 1999-10-05, 08-30, 08-23, 08-16, 07-26, 05-22, 05-08, 04-21, 03-01, 01-26, more...
The next day IBM was granted an export license for 56-bit encryption technology .
At the same time, 16 business and trade organizations sent a letter to President Clinton decrying the administration's crypto policy, according to the News.com story . "By promoting the fact that businesses are signing up, [the government] implies that the business community is embracing this, and that's not what's happening," one of the signers reportedly said. I was unable to find any trace of this letter on the pages of any of the organizations named, however; a dozen search engines likewise came up blank. (Didn't try Beachcomber though...)
The best summary of international crypto regulation continues to be Bert-Jaap Koops's <E.J.Koops at kub dot nl> Crypto Law Survey , which includes information on the Wassenaar Arrangement.
Government access to keys
When referring to government schemes for key escrow or key recovery, online activists and members of the crypto community tend, with studied inelegance, to employ the term "GAK." Government officials in the European Union prefer "TTP," trusted third parties. France already has GAK regulations (as the U.S. does). The EU employs a crypto-politics coordinator, an Englishman named David Herson -- his role sounds analogous to that of Aaron Burns in the U.S. . You can read a September 1996 interview with Herson here . He reflects Europe's comparitively more relaxed attitude toward privacy when he says, "The private citizen doesn't need crypto -- that's been proved." But the OECD at its recent meeting refused to recommend a GAK policy .
Mike Cobb <mikec at cobweb dot co dot uk> tried to find out if he would need a license to export his KeyRing file-encryption and password-tracking program from the UK. The letter  he eventually got from the Department of Trade and Industry seems to point out a loophole in Wassenaar, whose derivative wording predates modern electronic media. The regulations state:
According to a recent report by Hannes Krill in the 1997-02-22 issue of Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a high-ranking official of the Bavarian Home Department, Mr. Regensburger, has urged the Federal Minister for Domestic Affairs to establish a crypto regulation act requiring mandatory deposition of secret keys with law-enforcement authorities.
A Swedish newspaper story
(this URL is in Swedish) describes the
"terrorizing bureaucracy" that has resulted from Sweden's
implementing an ITAR-like law after signing Wassenaar. A sub-department of
Sweden's Foreign Office oversees export requests, calling as needed
on the help of the local equivalent of the NSA. An official at this
export directorate is quoted as saying that only a handful of EU
member states unambiguously qualify under Wassenaar to import Swedish
strong crypto: England, France, Holland, Sweden, and Germany. Several
posters to the Cryptography list disputed this official's
interpretation, citing an exemption in the Swedish ITAR for cryptographic
items that are "publicly available." Some opined that the "intangible"
loophole in Wassenaar applies to Sweden as well. Opinion on the list
was that the story is an example of bluff and bluster by local
bureaucrats with a fu
y grasp of their own laws. On the whole the Swedes can't seem to make up their minds about GAK; their crypto ambassador said an article in Dagens Nyheter  (again in Swedish):
One Cryptography poster claimed that the Japanese Ministry of Justice, playing the emotional anti-terrorism card, is pushing hard for a sweeping new wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping statute. Another pointed out that any such law in Japan would require a constitutional amendment given the unambiguous privacy protection lodged in their constitution (Article 21, paragraph 2): "No censorship shall be maintained, nor shall the secrecy of any means of communication be violated."
The group also examined (in less detail) the speed improvements that CSS1 cascading style sheets  and PNG graphics  could effect. Style sheets were used here mainly to replace .gif images with more compact representations, and the W3C group found to their surprise that this technique could add up to large bandwidth savings.
Now this tactic is clever, and in my view not particularly sleazy. The offer didn't trigger my anti-marketing radar the way a common spam does. The developers of did-it.com have done some online research using one of the search engines to find links to their competition. They have then gone to the trouble of finding email reply addresses for the sites thus located to build their mailing list. Their solicitation offers enticements for me to place a link to did-it.com on my site alongside the NetCreations link.
They could have done two things better: send me an individual letter instead of a mass mailing; and vet their email for the telltale non-Ascii evidence of its MS Word origins.
Cheshire describes some steps we can take to cut modem latency in half, and outlines a simple feature -- not present in most modems today -- that if implemented would cut the latency by a factor of five.
TBTF for 1997-02-11 
Felix von Leitner <leitner at math dot fu-berlin dot de>, a member of the Chaos Computer Club, sent clarifications to Glen McCready's 0xdeadbeef mailing list, which had carried a story about the CCC's ActiveX / Quicken hack. I've placed von Leitner's note  on the TBTF archive by permission.
Omniview gets an investor
Omniview, the inventor of the PhotoBubble technology profiled in TBTF for 1996-08-08 , has received an investment from Discovery Communications, home of the Discovery Channel and its online incarnation . The amount invested was not disclosed but was reported to be multiple millions of dollars. PhotoBubbles are electronic spherical photographs produced by special software from two hemispherical views captured with conventional camera equipment. Discovery used the technology when it explored the remains of the Titanic last fall.
TBTF's Web home has moved to a new ISP host and has a new look and two new features (most of the reason why this issue is late). I hope you didn't experience too much instability while the changeover was in progress over the last 10 days. The new look incorporates handy page footers for navigation and a more consistent color scheme. Nothing too radical. For navigation there is a topical index (current through 1996, to be updated quarterly); see <http://www.tbtf.com/blog-archive/index.html>. And at long last a search engine, this one based on Glimpse technology, provides access to TBTF's archived articles and other resources at <http://www.tbtf.com/search.html>.
Re: topical index -- the tool that did the meatiest part of this job is HTML Grinder and its Auto Indexer wheel or plug-in. See <http://www.matterform.com/>. The Grinder is a Macintosh-only site-maintenance tool that comes with some 20 other wheels that I haven't had a chance to exercise much yet. It has matured considerably since I first tried it in 1995 and is now well worth a look if you run a Web site from a Mac.
A number of you took the time to comment on the new look of TBTF's email edition, thanks. As luck would have it, half of the comments bemoaned the loss of the Ascii-art lips. I'll take that as popular demand; the lips will reside at <http://www.tbtf.com/resource/the-lips.html> in perpetuity. But not on the TBTF masthead. Oh, and the wrapped URLs are history: URLs will appear from this day forward in full RFC-1738 regalia. Don't know what got into me there.
On 2/24 the San Jose Mercury News published an article called Spinoffs of Valley's famed name surge that links the Siliconia page <http://www.tbtf.com/siliconia.html> and quotes me on the subject of the boom in Silicon Elsewhere appelations. See the article at <http://www.sjmercury.com/news/local/silicon022397.htm>. Siliconia enjoyed nearly 400 visitors that day and has been running far above historical levels since; few if any of the Siliconia visitors seem to have become subscribers, however.
I'll be attending CFP'97 (the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference) in Burlingame, CA March 11-14. If any of you are planning to attend, drop me a line -- perhaps we can work up a TBTF birds-of-a-feather session.
E.Commerce Today -- this commercial publication provided background information for some of the pieces in this issue of TBTF. For complete subscription details see <../resource/E.CT.txt>.
Cryptography -- mail email@example.com without subject and with message: subscribe cryptography [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] .
TidBITS -- mail email@example.com with no subject and with message: subscribe TidBITS Your Name . Web home at <http://www.ctidbits.com>. Web archive at <http://www.tidbits.com/tb-issues/default.html>.
TBTF home and archive at <http://www.tbtf.com/>. To subscribe send the message "subscribe" to firstname.lastname@example.org. TBTF is Copyright 1994-1997 by Keith Dawson, <dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com>. Com- mercial use prohibited. For non-commercial purposes please forward, post, and link as you see fit. _______________________________________________ Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.