That's right...a public display of this tattoo was nationally broadcast on ZDTV's coverage of DefCon 9. (And yes, it suprised me, too.)
Believe it or not, cryptography was (until just recently) considered a
munition by the government of the United States (International Traffic
in Arms Regulations [ITAR]). As I was a full-time employee of the the USG at the time
(circa 1998) and was doing a lot of cryptography evangelizing at work, I felt it was
both necessary and valid to demonstrate how utterly ridiculous the whole idea was.
Thus, I went down to the local tattoo parlor and signed up for my third tattoo.
The text of the tattoo is thus:
Of course, the U.S. still has a long way to go. Declassifying cryptography as a munition was a wise move, as was lifting of some restrictions on the export of some cryptographic systems, but the U.S. is woefully behind on the crypto-curve...and this is entirely due to the nonsensical laws still on the books.
Until the U.S. government gets out of the way on cryptography issues and stops insisting on key escrow, backdoors and other liberty-threatening measures, the U.S. will never come close to reaping the rewards of the future of electronic commerce. (This will hold true in spite of the fascism of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [DMCA], which does little more than protect snake-oil "security" vendors from having to face the music of their poor coding practices.)
I find it so utterly ludicrous that the U.S. considers genuine cryptography to be a greater threat to National Security than the snake oil it tacitly protects under the auspices of DMCA. Perhaps one day the politicians in Washington will recognize that the latter is a far greater threat to U.S. interests than the former...but I doubt that wake-up will happen unless responsible citizens continue to shove it in their faces.