[Top] [All Lists]


1997-11-30 08:43:11
Subject: Re: RSA Blows Standards (S/MIME) Smoke
From: david(_at_)sternlight(_dot_)com (David Sternlight)
Date: 1997/11/06

In article <63t0q3$rkq(_at_)clarknet(_dot_)clark(_dot_)net>, 
gsh(_at_)clark(_dot_)net (Greg Hennessy) wrote:

Phil took RSA and deprived RSADSI of their patent rights in PGP 1.x. The
IETF area chairman has been widely reported to be trying to do something
analogous for S/MIME.


Already published here by Stone.

This constant slandering of the IETF is really getting old.

It will continue until we have an explanation. And it isn't "slander" but
criticism. You DO know the difference, don't you?

In fact I'm told that the IEG's policy is that standards should be
"intellectual-property-neutral". If true it seems to me the IETF area
chairman is in violation of that principle by refusing materials which are
the intellectual property of the inventors in favor of materials in which
intellectual property rights are conveyed.

saying that you can't be one Internet standard among several unless you
surrender your hard-earned intellectual property is thuggery, pure and

It is not "thuggery" to insist that any internet standard NOT be a
trade secret of a company. RSADSI is under no obligation to to
surrender trade secret status of RC2. The IETF is under no obligation
to certify S/MIME as an internet standard.

It is thuggery to use what market power the unelected, unrepresentative
IETF area group has to insist on the surrender of property rights in aid
of an ideological axe to grind on that matter. I see it as little
different, in principle, from blackmail, particularly if the report of the
IEG's intellectual-property-neutral policy is accurate. There is nothing
wrong with adopting a proprietary standard (especially such a widespread
de facto one into which so much hard work has gone by some of the best and
brightest companies in the world). as long as it is not an exclusive
standard. The whole character of MIME is to allow diverse formats. Let the
market decide.

I am surprised that those who ordinarily make ringing cries for individual
freedom and choice should be on the side of the seeming fascists on this

If RSADSI chooses to release RC2 because they think the benefit of
having S/MIME be an internet standard outweighs the benefit of having
RC2 be a trade secret, that is RSADSI's decision to make.

They can continue to push S/MIME without being an internet standard.

You are flying in the face of many years of court rulings on such topics
as country club discrimination. Think it through.

Who do these people think they are, anyway?

The Internet Engineering Task Force.

They are unelected and unrepresentative. Most users not only didn't get a
vote, but their market power vote is being taken away by practices such as
those reportedly going on. If the IETF cannot practice fairness, and
instead allow an area chairman to seemingly pursue a personal ideology
about intellectual property when a context of choice is available, perhaps
it is time the government or the courts took away their power over the
public information highway.

Assuming the reports are accurate, if Schiller doesn't like the patent
laws he should talk to Congress, not beat RSADSI up about it by unfairly
using powers granted to him on everyone's behalf.

If the reports aren't accurate we are long overdue for a full explanation.
It is OUR internet, not Jeff Schiller's, and continued silence shows an
arrogance toward users.


<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>