cr> NYT on Crypto Bills (fwd)


Henry Huang

Excerpts from an NYT article on bills by Leahy and Goodlatte regarding
Gov't crypto measures.  It's really unclear on exactly what these
bills do and don't do, though -- hopefully EPIC or a similar
organization will post further news on this soon.



   The New York Times, March 4, 1996, p. D4. 
   Compromise Bills Due on Data Encryption 
      Industry Opponents and Civil Libertarians Are Lukewarm, 
      at Best 
   By John Markoff 
   Legislation will be introduced in the House and the Senate 
   tomorrow in an effort to break the deadlock between the 
   computer industry and the Clinton Administration over the 
   control and export of software and hardware used to 
   scramble electronic data. 
   So far, though, the proposed measures have received only 
   cautious endorsement from industry executives, while 
   civil-liberties and privacy groups say they are worried 
   that the bills would enable the Government to decode 
   scrambled transmissions. 
   Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and 
   Representative Bob Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia, plan 
   to introduce similar bills that affirm the right of 
   Americans to use any type of data-coding equipment without 
   restriction and prohibit the mandatory use of special keys 
   that would allow law-enforcement agencies to read scrambled 
   data. Their bills would also make it a crime to use 
   encryption technology in committing a crime and would 
   permit the export of data-coding software and hardware if 
   similar technology was available from a foreign supplier. 

   The proposed legislation would ease some current 
   restrictions on the exporting of data-coding systems, but 
   civil libertarians still see areas of concern. 
   "The bills relax export controls, which is clearly a step 
   in the right direction," conceded Marc Rotenberg, director 
   of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington 
   research and policy organization. But the negatives, he 
   said, were that the bills opened the door to Government 
   access to private transactions "and criminalize the use of 
   cryptography when it is used to perpetrate a crime." 
   Industry officials said they expected the legislation to 
   stir little enthusiasm from corporate users. "Corporate 
   America is absolutely unwilling to give a third party 
   control of their data," said Jim Bidzos, chief executive of 
   RSA Data Security, a maker of encryption software based in 
   Redwood City, Calif.