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[FYI] (Fwd) [NEWS] U.S to Follow EU Crypto Lead

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Tue, 6 Jun 2000 09:52:07 -0400
From:           	Andrew Shen <shen@epic.org>
Subject:        	[NEWS] U.S to Follow EU Crypto Lead
To:             	gilc-plan@gilc.org
Send reply to:  	gilc-plan@gilc.org


U.S to Follow EU Crypto Lead
by Declan McCullagh

3:00 a.m. Jun. 6, 2000 PDT WASHINGTON -- If the European Union
votes next week to relax encryption regulations, the United
States says it will take similar steps.

Commerce Department Undersecretary William Reinsch said Monday
that any change, designed to make sure American high-tech
companies aren't disadvantaged, will have to wait until the
Europeans reach a decision.

"In order to make the best move, we must wait until after the EU
makes theirs on June 13th. An announcement will come, must come
after the EU's announcement," Reinsch told the annual meeting of
the Computer and Communications Industry Association in

The European Ministers of Foreign Affairs is expected to vote on
June 13 to dramatically relax export controls. The panel last
month delayed a scheduled vote on the proposal, citing too many
items on the meeting's agenda.

American businesses have complained, individually and through
lobby groups like Americans for Computer Privacy, that being
subject to more restrictive regulations than their competitors
places U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage.

Industry executives, including Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, will
trek to Washington on Wednesday for an annual lobbying session
that includes a focus on encryption. Some firms, like Hushmail
and Zero Knowledge Systems, have lured American cryptographers

The expected change in encryption regulations would make it
dramatically easier for European countries to export encryption
technologies, used in network security and privacy-protecting
hardware and software.

Reinsch said that any change in U.S. regulations, which can be
done without congressional action, should address cryptographic
interfaces to existing programs.

He has said recently that the United States is not obliged to be
as liberal as European governments when it comes to

Other speakers at the CCIA event included Orson Swindle, a
commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.

Swindle, a free-market voice at the FTC, said industry should be
encouraged to handle its own privacy problems.

If websites draft their own privacy policies, that increases
competition for users, and federal legislation "may actually
reduce the level of choice of privacy policies available to the
consumer," Swindle said.

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