[Owasp-board] [Owasp-community] IAB Statement on the Trade in Security Technologies

Jim Manico jim.manico at owasp.org
Sat Jun 20 20:36:55 UTC 2015

I agree with you Kevin. Even the IRS is cagey about this topic. 

However, this is an organization risk that I feel we should be aware of before charging to far into policy. It would behoove is to get legal review before going to far. I'll bring this up at the next board meeting.

Jim Manico
(808) 652-3805

> On Jun 20, 2015, at 9:47 AM, Kevin W. Wall <kevin.w.wall at gmail.com> wrote:
> Jim,
>> On Sat, Jun 20, 2015 at 2:55 PM, Jim Manico <jim.manico at owasp.org> wrote:
>> That is fair Michael.
>> But I do want to warn the community that this is a slippery slope, we are
>> being watched, and trying to influence legislation is one of the few ways
>> OWASP can lose it's charitable status. And if that happens, the debate about
>> what to do with our funds will quickly change for the worse.
> I don't think that it is impossible for charitable organizations to comment
> on public possible without loosing their 501(c)(3) status, but it just has
> to be done in the right way. (However, IANAL, so I don't even begin to
> know the details of what that "right way" would entail.)
> As a case in point, the ACM has a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status, and
> yet their public policy arm--the USACM--has certainly tried to influence
> public policy. (Recall the crypto debate from the late 1990s? The USACM
> and IEEE wrote a letter to Sen. John McCain to try to influence the US
> legislation not to pass laws to mandate weak encryption. E.g., see
> <http://usacm.acm.org/privsec/details.cfm?type=Letters&id=18&cat=8&Privacy%20and%20Security>.)
> So I'm guessing that the devil is in the details of how it is done.  In fact,
> according to Spaf's blog at
> <https://www.cerias.purdue.edu/site/blog/post/deja_vu_all_over_again_the_attack_on_encryption/>
> the USACM is going through this same this this again. Like I said, I am not
> a lawyer and maybe this attempt to influence public policy doesn't strictly
> qualify as "lobbying" in the eyes of the IRS. But it certainly doesn't seem
> impossible.
> Also, we can--and should--all speak out strongly against things that we believe
> are against the OWASP mission, but we don't have to do it in a manner as
> representing OWASP. Do that on your personal blogs or social media instead
> of OWASP mailing lists and there shouldn't be an issue, especially if you add
> a short disclaimer as to how your opinion does not necessarily affect the
> opinion of OWASP overall (in the cases when there might be some doubt).
> So perhaps if we decide that we officially want to speak out on certain
> public policy as an organization in order to influence public policy in
> accordance with our mission statements, then someone who understands
> the nuances of the 501(c)(3) IRS regulations could help OWASP navigate
> these waters.
> -kevin
> -- 
> Blog: http://off-the-wall-security.blogspot.com/
> NSA: All your crypto bit are belong to us.

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