"Picture a future where distributing Linux is a crime
punishable by a hefty fine and a prison sentence. If that sounds
ridiculous, then you haven't run into the Security Systems
Standards and Certification Act . It's the very latest -- and
bizarre -- word in political back-scratching from one of South
Carolina's U.S. senators. And he'd rather not talk about it, thank
you very much.
It is unlawful to manufacture, import, offer to the public,
provide or otherwise traffic in any interactive digital device that
does not include and utilize certified security technologies that
adhere to the security systems standards adopted under section
This is the heart of the new Security Systems Standards and
Certification Act (SSSCA), a draft of legislation proposed by U.S.
Senator Ernest Fritz Hollings, a Democrat from South Carolina. Yes,
it is vague, and perhaps intentionally so. The SSSCA raises a
number of questions, none of which its politically powerful sponsor
feels compelled to answer. Repeated calls to Hollings' office were
routed to voicemail or message-takers, and on two occasions, an
individual who was unable to do anything -- including providing his
name -- other than repeat the phrase "I'm simply not qualified to
comment on this matter," to any question I asked until I hung up
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