Peter Junger was an Internet activist and computer law professor at Case Western Reserve University who challenged the U.S. government’s regulations of encryption software. Federal restrictions prevent United States citizens from exporting encryption source codes – a definition which includes publishing them over the internet. Junger, who taught encryption technology as part of his computer law class, worried that he might not be allowed to accept foreign national students into his class as a result of these export regulations. He also feared that his self-authored encryption programs, which he wished to post on his website, might place him in legal jeopardy.

He decided to challenge the government’s restrictions in federal court. He sued William Daley, the United States Secretary of Commerce, on the grounds that the Export Regulations violated his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.

A U.S. District Court judge ruled that encryption software is not sufficiently expressive to warrant protection under the First Amendment. ACLU attorneys Ray Vasvari and Gino Scarselli supported Junger and argued on his behalf. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit Court ruled that the encryptions were protected by the First Amendment.

Read the decision on Findlaw.

Date filed

September 2, 1997