November 30, 2006 | By John Gilmore

In Memoriam: Peter Junger, Digital Freedom Fighter

Last week, digital freedom fighter Peter Junger passed away. Peter was a truly pioneering legal thinker on digital issues, and his impact was felt far outside the walls of academia. In particular, we all owe him a debt of gratitude for challenging the government's draconian restrictions on encryption and helping to establish that code is speech protected by the First Amendment.

Today, strong encryption is taken for granted, whether it's keeping snoops out of your Internet communications, protecting your credit card number when you shop online, or otherwise securing your privacy. But when Peter filed his lawsuit a decade ago, export controls treated encryption as a dangerous weapon; in turn, Peter and other researchers who wanted to publish encryption code were akin to arms dealers. In 2000, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that these restrictions demanded scrutiny under the First Amendment. At the time, EFF was challenging the export controls in Bernstein v. US, and we also supported Peter in his efforts.

In Junger v. Daley and beyond, Peter was fearless. His contributions to the fight for digital freedom will be sorely missed and forever celebrated.

For anyone who would like to make a donation in Peter's name, please send your donation to the Cleveland Buddhist Temple, 1573 East 214th St., Euclid, Ohio 44117. writer Declan McCullagh posted some of his own memories here.

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