From: Xena - Warrior Princess <email@example.com>
Message Hash: b999cef9807afcb86cddd9cf842d8eabdf34429f042103d648ca2bb89ed9ba83
Message ID: <199812032032.MAA10218@shell16.ba.best.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1998-12-03 21:15:10 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 05:15:10 +0800
From: Xena - Warrior Princess <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 05:15:10 +0800 To: email@example.com Subject: No Subject Message-ID: <199812032032.MAA10218@shell16.ba.best.com> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain U.S. claims success in curbing encryption trade WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Clinton administration officials Thursday said they had persuaded other leading countries to impose strict new export controls on computer data-scrambling products under the guise of arms control. At a meeting Thursday in Vienna, the 33 nations that have signed the Wassenaar Arrangement limiting arms exports -- including Japan, Germany and Britain -- agreed to impose controls on the most powerful data-scrambling technologies, including for the first time mass-market software, U.S. special envoy for cryptography David Aaron told Reuters. The United States, which restricts exports of a wide range of data-scrambling products and software -- also known as encryption -- has long sought without success to persuade other countries to impose similar restrictions. ``We think this is very important in terms of bringing a level playing field for our exporters,'' Aaron said. Leading U.S. high-technology companies, including Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., have complained that the lack of restrictions in other countries hampered their ability to compete abroad. The industry has sought to have U.S. restrictions relaxed or repealed, but has not asked for tighter controls in other countries. Privacy advocates have also staunchly opposed U.S. export controls on encryption, arguing that data-scrambling technologies provided a crucial means of protecting privacy in the digital age. ``It's ironic, but the U.S. government is leading the charge internationally to restrict personal privacy and individual liberty around the world,'' said Alan Davidson, staff counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based advocacy group. Special envoy Aaron said the Wassenaar countries agreed to continue export controls on powerful encryption products in general but decided to end an exemption for widely available software containing such capabilities. ``They plugged a loophole,'' Aaron said. The new policy also reduced reporting and paperwork requirements and specifically excluded from export controls products that used encryption to protect intellectual property -- such as movies or recordings sent over the Internet -- from illegal copying, Aaron said. Encryption uses mathematical formulas to scramble information and render it unreadable without a password or software ``key.'' One important measure of the strength of the encryption is the length of the software key, measured in bits, the ones and zeros that make up the smallest unit of computer data. With the increasing speed and falling prices of computers, data encrypted with a key 40 bits long that was considered highly secure several years ago can now be cracked in a few hours. Cutting-edge electronic commerce and communications programs typically use 128-bit or longer keys. Under Thursday's agreement, Wassenaar countries would restrict exports of general encryption products using more than 56-bit keys and mass-market products with keys more than 64 bits long, Aaron said. Each country must now draft its own rules to implement the agreement.