The Applied Cryptography Case - Detailed History

Round One - Office of Defense Trade Controls, State Dept

My case began with the filing of a Commodity Jurisdiction Request (CJR) with the United States Department of State. As you look at the dates on my correspondence, keep in mind that State is supposed to answer this type of CJ request in 15 days, and appeals are supposed to be answered in 30 days.

The printed textbook (CJ Case 038-94):

The floppy (CJ Case 081-94):

The administrative appeals:

Our First Time in Court

When we exhausted our administrative appeals without a satisfactory result, we took our case to the courts.

The lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia and assigned to Judge Charles Richey:

The Government asks the judge to throw out my suit (15 Nov 1995):

We oppose the government's motion, i.e., we ask the judge to let our suit proceed (11 Dec 1995):

On 18 Dec 1995 the two parties file a Joint Statement of Facts Not In Dispute

The government opposes our opposition, i.e., they again ask the judge to toss out our suit (18 Dec 1995):

We rebut the government yet again (22 Dec 1995):

Judge Richey throws out our suit in a strongly-worded 36-page decision (22 Mar 1996)

The Appeal to the DC Circuit

We then appealed Judge Richey's decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Judges Williams, Ginsburg and Rogers were assigned to the case.

Then the government threw a monkey wrench into the case. On December 30, 1996, only days before oral arguments in my case, the President moved the entire export control scheme for civilian encryption software from the jurisdiction of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (administered by the State Department) to the Export Admistration Regulations administered by the Bureau of Export Administration, US Department of Commerce.

Both parties filed supplemental briefs with the Court of Appeals asking it to hear the case as scheduled and to decide the Constitutional issues raised in my case:

Oral arguments before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit were heard on January 10, 1997 at 9:30AM in the courthouse at 333 Constitution Avenue, Washington DC. It was an absolutely fascinating event, the first time I've been in a federal courtroom. I call it the "battle of the metaphors". Judges explore new areas of the law by looking for precedents for similar situations in existing law. Many analogies were offered by both sides, and the debate was quite fascinating to watch. Judge Ginsburg was the most active questioner of both attorneys, followed by Judge Williams. Judge Rogers said relatively little, but she was clearly interested in the administrative procedures aspect of the case.

The court took only 11 days to issue a judgment on January 21, 1997. They were clearly uneasy about the last-minute change in the rules, so they remanded the case to the district court to consider what effect the new rules have on it. So while I have not yet won outright, the good news is that my case is again alive.

Back in District Court

Judge Richey, the district court judge who originally dismissed my case in April 1996, died of cancer on March 19, 1997. The case was reassigned to District Judge Louis Oberdorfer, who is hearing it on the remand. At this point, the action moves back to the Executive Branch for Round Two.

Round Two - Bureau of Export Administration (BXA), Commerce Dept

We resubmit our request to the BXA under the new rules:

The Amended Complaint

With our "administrative remedies" again exhausted, we returned to Judge Oberdorfer:

The government once again moves to dismiss:

On April 20, 1998, we filed our response:

On February 18, 1999, Judge Oberdorfer granted our request for an evidentiary hearing. This is good news!

Stay tuned for further developments!

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Last updated: 24 Feb 1999