Unformatted text preview: defend privacy, and since we can’t get privacy unless we all do, we’re going to write it. We publish our code so that our fellow Cypherpunks may practice and play with it. Our code is free for all to use, worldwide. We don’t care much if you don’t approve of the software we write. We know that software can’t be destroyed and that widely dispersed systems can’t be shut down. People interested in joining the cypherpunks mailing list on the Internet should send mail to [email protected] The mailing list is archived at ftp.csua.berkeley.edu in /pub/cypherpunks. 25.13 Patents
Software patents are an issue much larger than the scope of this book. Whether they’re good or bad, they exist. Algorithms, cryptographic algorithms included, can be patented in the United States. IBM owned the DES patents . IDEA is patented. Almost every public-key algorithm is patented. NIST even has a patent for the DSA. Some cryptography patents have been blocked by intervention from the NSA, under the authority of the Invention Secrecy Act of 1940 and the National Security Act of 1947. This means that instead of a patent, the inventor gets a secrecy order and is prohibited from discussing his invention with anybody. The NSA has special dispensation when it comes to patents. They can apply for a patent and then block its issuance. It’s a secrecy order again, but here the NSA is both the inventor and the issuer of the order. When, at some later date, the secrecy order is removed, the Patent Office issues the patent good for the standard 17 years. This rather clearly protects the invention while keeping it secret. If someone else invents the same thing, the NSA has already filed for the patent. If no one else invents it, then it remains secret. Not only does this fly directly in the face of the patent process, which is supposed to disclose as well as protect inventions, it allows the NSA to keep a patent for more than 17 years. The 17-year clock starts ticking after the pate...
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- Fall '10
- Cryptography, Bruce Schneier, Applied Cryptography, EarthWeb, Search Search Tips