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Encryption technology bolsters your privacy


For Immediate Release
September 15, 1998
Sue Richard/Monica Gliva 202/625-1256

Washington, DC - (September 15) The following statement was issued today by Ed Gillespie, Executive Director of Americans for Computer Privacy (ACP):

"The thirty-three member countries of the Wassenaar Agreement for export controls will convene in Vienna, Austria on September 17-18 to consider whether to place new blanket restrictions on exports of mass market encryption software. Unfortunately, the U.S. government is among the leading proponents of this damaging proposal.

"Americans for Computer Privacy continues to call on the U.S. government to dramatically reduce export controls on encryption products in order for American users and manufacturers of security technology to maintain their global competitiveness.

"America's allies are already implementing competitive encryption regimes. In 1991, the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), the predecessor to Wassenaar, de-controlled the export of mass market software - recognizing that it is inherently uncontrollable, whether off the shelf or on the Internet. Today, since the Wassenaar Arrangement has no enforcement authority, any control regime agreed on by the member countries amounts to nothing more than permission for a unilateral U.S. control against American companies.

"This reality is compellingly explained in a declaration issued today by the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC), a global coalition of organizations committed to Internet growth and freedom. ACP endorses the GILC declaration and calls on all governments to reject new encryption controls and recognize the critical importance of mass market software encryption to global competitiveness, national security and public safety." (The GILC declaration is available at

ACP is a broad-based coalition that brings together more than 100 companies and 40 associations representing financial services, manufacturing, telecommunications, high-tech and transportation, as well as law enforcement, civil-liberty, pro-family and taxpayer groups. ACP supports policies that advance the rights of American citizens to encode information without fear of government intrusion, and advocates the lifting of current export restrictions on U.S.-made encryption.

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