Wassenaar Agreement Cryptography

Many things are valuable to criminals and terrorists, but this alone has no reason to introduce controls. When considering whether to control a particular category of products, it is important to ensure that the benefits of refusing this product to criminals and terrorists outweigh the costs of using them by law-abiding businesses and citizens, and criminals believe that cars are useful, but society does not control the supply of cars. Similarly, it makes no sense to deprive society of the benefits of cryptography in order to prevent criminal or terrorist uses that will certainly fail. In any event, the United States and a number of other countries still impose export controls on cryptographic products, even if there is not even the slightest chance that they will contribute to the development of offensive military capabilities. In practice, these controls, which some nations are trying to justify through the Wassenaar agreement, have a truly disastrous effect on genuine civil and commercial activities, in violation of an important provision of the Wassenaar Agreement. It therefore appears that this regime is being used by some nations to maintain control of cryptography, which is not justified in any way by its objectives. It succeeds the Cold War Coordination Committee on Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM) and was founded on 12 July 1996 in Wassenaar, the Netherlands, near The Hague. The Wassenaar agreement is much less stringent than COCOM, focusing mainly on the transparency of national export control regimes and not giving some members a veto over organisational decisions. A secretariat for the management of the agreement is located in Vienna, Austria. However, as a cocom, it is not a treaty and is therefore not legally binding. Governments use cryptography to protect information that is sometimes very important to other neighbouring countries, for example, to determine whether they are considering or considering offensive military action. If a belligerent nation threatens regional stability, it will have to take a number of measures that will often be reflected in its exchange of information, both within its borders and with overseas countries and organizations that sympathize with its cause.

In this regard, governments use cryptography to protect such an exchange of information, to hide their intentions. Even if cryptography is a purely defensive technology, it can be exploited by a belligerent nation to the possible detriment of its peaceful neighbours. Some might argue that this offers a reason to maintain cryptographic controls for export, but in reality, for reasons that are now explained, it does not. Although cryptography is a purely defensive technology, even offensive weapons have certain defensive properties that lead to cryptographic applications. To give concrete examples, medium- and long-haul offensive missile systems require telemetry guidance and control, and it is normal to protect these circuits with cryptographic products. Without such protection, these missiles would be vulnerable to actions that would disrupt missile guidance and control controls, making them ineffective. Even fully defensive technology can therefore be used indirectly in the exploitation of offensive weapons. Contrary to the provisions of the Wassenaar agreement, export controls for cryptographic products now have more negative effects on civil transactions in good faith, which in itself means that they can no longer be justified by this agreement.

Comments are closed.