DoJ press release on Bernstein case

John Gilmore gnu at
Tue Aug 26 19:57:37 PDT 1997

Forwarded-by: Shari Steele <ssteele at>

Department of Justice

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 26, 1997

(202) 616-2777
TDD (202) 514-1888


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department said today it is considering 
what further legal measures it will take following yesterday's ruling by 
the U.S. District Court in San Francisco that certain aspects of the 
government's regulations on the export of encryption software are 
unconstitutional.  Another federal court upheld the export controls on 
encryption software.

The Administration is committed to promoting the legitimate use of 
encryption.  Through encryption--or the coding of messages--businesses 
can protect trade secrets, hospitals can safeguard medical records, and 
individuals can be assured that personal messages on the information 
superhighway remain private.

But, as President Clinton stated upon issuing an Executive Order on this 
subject on November 15, 1996, the use of encryption products by 
unfriendly parties outside the United States can jeopardize the foreign 
policy and national security interests of the United States, and public 
safety of U.S. citizens.

Judicial proceedings in Bernstein v. Department of State are not yet 
concluded, and the decision governs only that case.  In March 1996, in 
another pending case in Washington, D.C., Karn v. Department of State, 
the District Court ruled that export controls on encryption software are 
constitutional under the First Amendment and serve important interests 
of the United States.  That case is still pending to consider export 
controls on encryption now administered by the Commerce Department.

Until this issue is resolved, export controls on encryption software 
remain in place.  Individuals or companies wishing to export encryption 
software by any means must continue to adhere to applicable export 
licensing controls on such software before exporting it abroad.



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