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[FYI] Tony Blair: "Key escrow is not the answer"


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4 March 1999 

From: "Caspar Bowden" <cb@fipr.org>
To: "Ukcrypto (E-mail)" <ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk>
Subject: Tony Blair: "Key escrow is not the answer"
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1999 12:12:08 -0000 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : 4th March 1999 12:10 London 

Tony Blair: "Key escrow is not the answer" 


At a meeting this morning at No.10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Tony
Blair told senior executives from the UK's most prominent IT companies
that the Government would not seek to link licensing of Trusted Third
Parties with key escrow. 

The meeting was then addressed by Home Secretary Jack Straw, Trade
Secretary Stephen Byers, and Cabinet Secretary Richard Wilson, who
reinforced the seriousness with which Government views the threat
posed by encryption to law enforcement. 

An industry-government Task Force would intensively examine over a
3-week period possible technical alternative means to assist law
enforcement, chaired by DTI civil servant David Hendon. Hendon
supervised the development of the discredited mandatory licensing
policy under the previous Conservative administration. 

The Prime Minister said that it was not good enough for industry
merely to say that key escrow was unworkable - they must assist in
providing alternatives. It was suggested that the rejection of escrow
may not be unconditional: if satisfactory solutions did not emerge,
the issue might have to be revisited. 

The represented organisations included BT, CBI, Entrust, GEC, HP, ICL,
Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Post Office, Racal, Sun. 

A long-delayed Consulation Paper on the forthcoming Electronic
Commerce Bill will be launched on Friday, accepting submissions until

Caspar Bowden, Director of the Foundation for Information Policy
Research, said "this recognition at the highest level of Government of
difficulties with the key escrow policy is unprecedented. We await the
Consultation Paper to see exactly how the licensing conditions differ
from those that have been trailed over the past few months". 


Caspar Bowden                    http://www.fipr.org
Director, Foundation for Information Policy Research
Tel: +44(0)171 354 2333      Fax: +44(0)171 827 6534 


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