[Beowulf] Re: "hobbyists"
James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Jun 18 17:03:16 PDT 2008
At 04:16 PM 6/18/2008, Vincent Diepeveen wrote:
>Is it legal what your friend is doing for his hobby in his sparetime?
There are many things that one might do, perhaps with a cluster, that
can get you into trouble with various treaties and agreements. For
example, the ITAR describes a heck of a lot of really interesting
things that if inappropriately transferred to someone might result in
some attention from the authorities.
In general, fundamental research is not subject to export controls,
so if you frame your problem in terms of abstract mathematical
problems, you're not going to be treading on any toes. However,
start distributing it as "Jim Lux's superduper encryptor/password
cracker, now with 1024 bit capability!" and it's moved from
fundamental research to a product.
"Defense service" is a particularly tricky area since it's pretty
vague in definition. There's tricky guidelines like this:
Providing guidance or instruction to a foreign person on where to
find data or information related to controlled items may be a defense
service even if the data is in the public domain, if the data
addresses a specific problem and is being provided to help with that problem.
So.. if your (foreign person) buddy is designing thermonuclear
devices in their garage, and they complain about how slow it is to
run the hydrocodes to simulate stuff, better not hand them that old
copy of Sterling, et al., or even worse, give them rgb's website.
(the latter would be too suspicious, since rgb *is* a physicist,
doing monte carlo simulations no less, while Tom Sterling is *just a
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