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Cryptography’s Legal Landscape

The same applications, and the same cryptographic protocols, don’t function in the exact same ways when appearing in ‘the same software’ utilized in different control devices. What, if any, are the legal ramifications of differing delivery mechanisms for the same cryptographic functions that may or may not perform the same?


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Since the passage of UETA and ESIGN in 1999/2000, I have been fascinated as to exactly how the legal terminology of these and other “digital security” statutes equates to actual cryptographic methods. When someone writes a piece of software that “meets and/or exceeds these requirements,” and are “warranted for compliance” under these acts, how do contracting officers, lawyers, judges and everyone involved understand? It isn’t quite like a set of map directions: it’s difficult to draw a straight line from act to software function. As the digital landscape continues to grow and expand in scope, how does the legal profession keep up?

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