# Math Is Not A Crime

### from the *2+2* dept

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*Math Is Not A Crime*shirt (also available as women's tees, hoodies, v-necks, mugs and stickers), which was initially inspired by some of the debates around outlawing strong encryption -- but also refers to much, much more. One of the key points that defenders of strong encryption have been making in response to attempts to outlaw strong encryption or to demand backdoors is that encryption is just math, and it should never be a crime to do math. But the message actually goes beyond that. It's pointing out that since it is just math, someone else can do the math too and create their own encryption. One of the key legal fights around encryption, Bernstein v. United States, basically centered around the question of whether or not the government could declare a mathematical encryption algorithm a "munition" in order to block its export. Eventually it was determined that source code (and with it, math) are protected by the First Amendment.

But it's not just about encryption. The issue of outlawing math has come up in other contexts that we talk about as well. For example, the patenting of software is one example that has raised concerns about outlawing math. Algorithms are basically just mathematical formulas and not being able to write an algorithm because someone has patented some of it seems particularly stupid. Over a decade ago, Ben Klemens wrote a great book called

*Math You Can't Use*.

And, of course, this enters the copyright realm as well. We're constantly talking about DRM, and a key bit of law that props up bogus DRM systems is Section 1201 of the DMCA, which outlaws any circumvention of DRM. But, many of those circumventions are little more than math as well.

This should be concerning to all of us. Attempting to hold back innovation, privacy and progress by outlawing math is a problem, and that's the reason behind our shirt. Oh, and it's also cool for math teachers and students too. Get yours today, and don't forget to check out the other gear in our super-early holiday sale.