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The Firefox in the Win House?

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Last week an obviously confused reporter at reported what he thought were the details of a letter from the Bureau of Industry and Security (”BIS”) received by Mozilla, the open-source project responsible for Firefox, Thunderbird and other Internet applications, relating to downloads of the program by computer users in Iran. The article seemed to suggest that Mozilla had filed a voluntary disclosure with BIS that it had allowed downloads of its open-source encryption source code by Iranians. The article seemed to suggest further that Mozilla had received a letter from BIS stating that this was not a violation.

But that’s not what happened. BIS released yesterday an Advisory Opinion that, although identifying details have been removed, clearly addresses the situation described in the article. And, significantly, the advisory opinion doesn’t address exports of source code but instead addresses export of compiled source code.

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