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32.1 Legal Problems

Because of the continuously changing state of the law, it's not possible to provide a definitive survey of the laws affecting cryptography. Instead, this section warns you of some of the known trouble spots; this may help you when you try to find out what the laws of your country are.

Some countries require that you have a licence to use, possess, or import cryptography. These countries are believed to include Byelorussia, Burma, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

Some countries restrict the transmission of encrypted messages by radio; some telecommunications carriers restrict the transmission of encrypted messages over their network.

Many countries have some form of export control for encryption software. The Wassenaar Arrangement is a multilateral agreement between 33 countries (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States) which restricts some kinds of encryption exports. Different countries apply the arrangement in different ways; some do not allow the exception for certain kinds of “public domain” software (which would include this library), some only restrict the export of software in tangible form, and others impose significant additional restrictions.

The United States has additional rules. This software would generally be exportable under 15 CFR 740.13(e), which permits exports of “encryption source code” which is “publicly available” and which is “not subject to an express agreement for the payment of a licensing fee or royalty for commercial production or sale of any product developed with the source code” to most countries.

The rules in this area are continuously changing. If you know of any information in this manual that is out-of-date, please report it to the bug database. See Reporting Bugs.