>David wasn't charged because he installed a
>specific type of software -- he was charged
>because he installed the software illegally,
>without permission, and left a door open --
>albeit with no intent to harm. It's not the
>software, it's the action that's being charged.
I sincerely doubt that he'd have been charged if he'd installed the screen saver for the distributed project that's working on protein folding. I'd bet anything that it was the words "breaking encryption" that sent up a red flag to the attorney general. Someone no doubt has some weird half-baked notions that encryption breaking contests represent hackers, anarchy and the destruction of national security. Perhaps it occured to our dimwitted attorney general that computers that break sample messages for free could break real encrypted messages for free.
It's like the story by physicist Richard Feynman who worked on the top secret Manhattan project. When he showed a general that the combination locks on their desks could be easily picked, the general didn't respond by changing the locks or by warning people not to trust the locks - no he responded by writing a memo telling people to change their combinations only if Richard Feynman had access to their desks. Great minds think...
If we can scare the public away from decryption, the simple minded tyrant thinks...