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[FYI] USA: Janet Reno on Crypto


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7 February 1999
Source: http://www.senate.gov/~appropriations/commerce/2499jr.htm 

Jump to comments on encryption. 

                                          Statement of 
                                           Janet Reno 
                              Attorney General of the United States 
                                            Before the 
                                       United States Senate 
                                  Committee on Appropriations 
                         Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and State 
                               the Judiciary, and Related Agencies 
                                         February 4, 1999


 I am pleased to appear before you today to continue the dialogue
 between the Department of Justice and the Committee on
our efforts to combat terrorism.  At the outset, I would like to thank
the Chairman for his leadership and express my appreciation to the
Subcommittee for your interest and support in counter- terrorism


C. Encryption 

 Court-authorized electronic surveillance (wiretaps) and search and
 seizure are two of the most critically important investigative
techniques used by law enforcement to prosecute crime including
terrorism.  The growing use of strong, commercially-available,
non-recoverable encryption will significantly impair our ability to
effectively use wiretaps and conduct searches and seizures. 

 Encryption is extremely beneficial when used legitimately by
 individuals and corporations to protect the privacy and
confidentiality of voice and data communications and sensitive
electronically stored information (computer files).  In order to
provide individuals and corporations with greater privacy protections
as the world moves into the information age, both industry and
government are encouraging the use of strong encryption.  But the use
of strong encryption by criminals and terrorists poses a significant
risk to public safety and national security. 

 Law enforcement has steadfastly expressed its concern about the
 adoption of an encryption policy based solely on market
forces.  Law enforcement, including the International Association of
Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriff's Association, the National
District Attorneys Association, the National Association of Attorney
Generals and the Major City Chiefs, continues to call for the adoption
of a balanced encryption policy -- one that meets the commercial needs
of industry as well as the needs of the public for effective law

 The Administration is not currently seeking mandatory controls on
 encryption, but instead is working with industry to find
voluntary solutions that meet privacy, electronic commerce and public
safety needs.  We remain optimistic that such a voluntary approach
will be successful in addressing our public safety needs. 


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