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Security & privacy

Does the Second Amendment apply to software?

I’ve told you that the next big war could be found partially in cyberspace with cyberweapons, also known as viruses, spyware, etc. However, the U.S. government isn’t treating “cyberweapon” as a cute little name, it actually wants to regulate it like a weapon.

To that end, the Bureau of Industry and Security wants to pass the Wassenaar Arrangement. This would mean that U.S.-based companies couldn’t export spyware or network surveillance hardware without a license.

On the plus side, that would keep U.S. enemies from getting their hands on high-level spying technology. It would also keep it out of the hands of totalitarian governments who want to spy on political dissidents.

From the other side, critics say the language in the Wassenaar Agreement is too broad and would also hinder software needed for strong anti-virus and other protective tools. Also, the last time we did something similar with encryption back in the 1990s (only exported weaker types of encryption), it led to major problems today like the Logjam vulnerability that’s affecting security on hundreds of thousands of sites.

What do you think? Should we be exporting powerful code or keeping it in the U.S.? Let me know in the comments.

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