IACR: Condemning the U.S. President’s 2017-01-27 Executive Order

Paul Wouters <paul@nohats.ca> Mon, 30 January 2017 14:44 UTC

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Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2017 09:44:35 -0500 (EST)
From: Paul Wouters <paul@nohats.ca>
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Statement from the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR)
Condemning the U.S. President’s 2017-01-27 Executive Order
Barring Entry into the U.S. of Citizens from Seven Muslim-Majority Countries
January 29, 2017

The International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) is the
scientific organization dedicated to advancing the theory and practice
of cryptology worldwide. Our members contribute to the advance of
critical information security techniques. These work toward making the
Internet safe, protecting e-commerce, securing computer storage, and
enabling the safe use of mobile phones. Members of the IACR, who come
from around the world, developed many of the cryptographic methods that
have been standardized by the USA’s National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) and which are in use worldwide, such as the Advanced
Encryption Standard (AES).

The IACR strongly opposes U.S. President Donald Trump’s Executive Order
suspending visas to nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries. We
declare such actions, which hurt international collaboration, to pose a
concrete and direct threat to our mission, and to the continued
international contributions of our members to society, industry, and

The open exchange of ideas is essential to the work the IACR does, and
to the advance of scientific knowledge and technology more broadly. The
open exchange of ideas requires freedom of movement — as when non-U.S.
citizens attend IACR-sponsored conferences held in the USA, a completely
routine activity.

All individuals are entitled to participate in IACR conferences,
regardless of their country of origin. Barring citizens of out-of-favor
countries from entering the United States sunders basic scientific and
community norms. These norms were strained even before the executive
action, with many scholars facing untoward barriers to getting U.S.

The United States itself benefits from participation in the
international academic community, as when international graduate
students and postdoctoral scholars study at U.S. universities, and when
non-U.S. professors visit the U.S. to collaborate on research or share
their knowledge. Our community’s work, which often involves teams from
many countries, directly contributes to the successful efforts of U.S.

Running an international scientific society that contributes to
innovations in science and technology is not easy. The implications of
this executive order are unpredictable. In response to it, other nations
may take similar actions, making it impossible for U.S. scientists to
attend conferences in other countries.

In the end, this unhelpful and destructive executive order only hurts
the United States. The IACR calls for it to be immediately rescinded.

Approved by the IACR board of directors, January 29, 2017