5 January 1999

From: "Brian Gladman" <gladman@seven77.demon.co.uk>
To: "UK Crypto List" <ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk>
Subject: The Publication of Cryptographic Source Code
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 22:36:43 -0000

Open Letter to the DTI

The UK government proposals to control 'intangible exports' 
leave a question mark over the future legality of cryptographic 
source code published via the World Wide Web.

A number of members of the ukcrypto mailing list (including 
both Ross Anderson and myself) have Web pages which provide 
cryptographic source code. It is possible that Web pages such 
as these might become illegal if intangible export controls are 
introduced in the UK.

In my own case I have been contributing to the US Advanced 
Encryption Standard (AES) effort being run by the US National 
Institute of Standards and Technology to replace DES.  In 
particular I have a page at:


which provides full source code for DES and for all fifteen 
AES candidate encryption algorithms.  Since US originated AES 
source code is export controlled, my source code has been 
widely downloaded and used by other researchers as a basis for 
their own AES comparisons.  I believe this effort has made a 
worthwhile contribution to the AES effort and one that has 
been widely appreciated.  This would not have been possible 
without the personal and academic freedom we currently enjoy 
in the UK to conduct and publish such research.

There is a lack of clarity in respect of the possible impact 
of the proposed controls on intangible exports in respect of 
such Web published cryptographic research.  It is important 
that there is clarity here and I therefore request that the 
DTI provide a clear statement on the impact of future 
legislation on intangible exports in respect of such 

My question is hence a simple one:

Will the Web Page referenced above become illegal under any 
future government legislation on, or related to, the control 
of cryptography or intangible exports?

I would be most grateful if Nigel or John could secure a 
definitive answer on this from their Department.

If this government is going to turn me into a criminal I 
really would like to know before it actually happens!

            Brian Gladman (gladman@seven77.demon.co.uk)