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NewsForge: Fritz Hollings (D-Disney) avoids talking about SSSCA

Sep 21, 2001, 12:04 (18 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dan Berkes)
"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 104.

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 the phone."

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