cr> Encryption bill–one expert’s view



From: "B. Schneier" <•••@••.•••>
Message-Id: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: This is my support letter to Sen Leahy
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 09:30:35 +0000 (GMT)

This is a temporary e-mail address; I am in Cambridge until 12 March.
Continue to send mail to •••@••.•••; it forwards by itself.

March 1, 1996

Hon. Patrick Leahy
United States Senate

Dear Senator Leahy,

    I would like to thank you for introducing the Encrypted
Communications Privacy Act.  As a member of the computer and information
security research community, I am keenly aware of the vital role of
cryptography in fostering the development of our information infrastructure.

    As the author of the book, "Applied Cryptography", I have unusual
insights into the absurdity of cryptography export restrictions.  It is
not without irony that one may export my book in paper format, but not
electronically.  Presumably no rational person believes that the
current restrictions actually prevent the spread of cryptography.  I
believe you recognize this, as evidenced from the strong stance taken
in your bill.

    As the bill recognizes, we can no longer afford to hold on to the
obsolete notion that cryptography is the sole province of government
communications; the growth of modern networks has irrevocably pushed
it into the mainstream.  I applaud you leadership towards codifying
these principles in a balanced and responsible way.  In particular,
the bill:

      o Removes the regulatory strangle-hold that has encumbered
        the development of mass-market security solutions;

      o Recognizes the futility of applying regulations intended to
        control the international arms trade to even the most
        mundane and commonly available software;

      o Encourages public confidence in encryption by allowing
        the marketplace to provide a full range of choices for
        privacy and security needs;

      o Recognizes the special obligations of keyholders to be
        vigilant in safeguarding the information entrusted to
        them, without imposing hurtles on the use of cryptography;

      o Allows the United States to continue its leadership role as
        a technological innovator;

      o Acknowledges the pivotal role of cryptography in electronic

    I continue to have concerns that the new criminal obstruction
provision will discourage law abiding citizens from using cryptography.
I hope that legislative history and further discussion will demonstrate
the narrow intent of this crime.

    Overall, your bill takes very necessary strides towards ensuring that
the protections we take for granted in traditional media keep pace with
technology, and I commend your efforts.



                                Bruce Schneier

Version: 2.6.1


 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
   CyberJournal:  (WWW or FTP) -->
 Materials may be reposted in their _entirety_ for non-commercial use.