Commerce Secretary attacks crypto export limits
ptrei at securitydynamics.com
Wed Apr 15 14:09:06 PDT 1998
Crypto policy called a failure
By Courtney Macavinta
Staff Writer, CNET NEWS.COM
April 15, 1998, 11:40 a.m. PT
The government's policy restricting the export of strong encryption products
has failed and is boosting the foreign market by hog-tying the U.S.
Commerce Department secretary William Daley conceded today.
But the software industry and privacy advocates were most intrigued today by
Daley's admission that the administration's export limits on encryption
(technology that secures digital communication) are hindering U.S.
ability to compete with global manufacturers.
The export policy went into effect last January, and is overseen by the
Commerce Department. Under the rules, software makers that are granted
crypto export licenses must submit proof of their plans to build
features into their products after next year. Key-recovery systems make it
possible for law enforcement agents--who have obtained a court order--to
access computer users' private key that unscrambles their digital messages
"The ultimate result will be foreign dominance of the market," Daley said.
"This means a loss of jobs here, and products that do not meet either
our law enforcement or national security needs."
There has been an ongoing fight to overturn the export limits. But a
compromise hasn't been reached with law enforcement officials, who assert
that access to keys is needed to combat a new wave of high-tech crime in
which suspects can cover their tracks with crypto.
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