Washington, DC -- December 30, 1998)
The following statement was issued today by Ed Gillespie, Executive Director of Americans for Computer Privacy (ACP) in response to the Clinton Administration's release of draft regulations relating to encryption technology:
At first glance, ACP considers today's action a crucial first step
toward a well-balanced export policy. We and our Congressional allies
have strongly advocated the need for a relaxation of encryption export
regulations to make strong encryption products, that safeguard both
commercial data and the privacy rights of individuals, more widely
available. We appreciate the efforts of members of the Administration
and the 105th Congress to get us to this point.
Read the Federal Register
notice of the new regulations
in HTML or PDF format.
It appears that the government has incorporated many of our initial
recommendations into this updated export policy, including: significant
export relief for encryption products that use symmetric algorithms up
to and including 56-bits; products that use asymmetric algorithms up to
and including 1024-bits; and relief for various sectors of the business
community. However, the Administration has yet to allow U.S. encryption
manufacturers a level playing field in the global marketplace.
On December 3, the Administration announced an agreement with 32 other
nations--the Wassenaar Arrangement--containing certain export controls
on encryption. Regrettably, the Administration's draft regulations
impose greater restrictions on American companies than those called for
under the arrangement. We believe the Administration should begin the
new year by eliminating all controls on encryption software and
hardware--including hardware components that use algorithms up to
64-bits, and should eliminate all reporting requirements on higher-
level encryption exports. Such actions would make U.S. controls
consistent with the revised Wassenaar Arrangement.
In addition, the U.S. government should be mindful that the Wassenaar
Arrangement is only as effective as the implementing measures adopted
by signatory countries. Some of these nations will almost surely
implement requirements with less rigorous standards than those adopted
by the United States, allowing the unhindered export of 128-bit mass
market encryption products. It must also be noted that the Wassenaar
Arrangement includes just 33 countries-- and nations such as Israel,
South Africa, India and China are not signatories.
ACP believes that it is simply unworkable--and ultimately
counterproductive-- to attempt to limit the export of high-technology
products that are inherently uncontrollable. The Administration itself
has argued that the mass-market sale of such products as unencrypted
computer chips and software is, by its very nature, uncontrollable.
Once an encryption feature is added to such products, the makers and
distributors are not able to control their ultimate destinations.
Americans for Computer Privacy looks forward to further discussions
with representatives of the Administration, members of Congress, and
other interested parties in 1999 as we seek further relief consistent
with the Wassenaar Arrangement--and to provide input in the yearly
review of the Administration's update of the encryption export policy.
Americans for Computer Privacy (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 pollicies 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.