Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

FC: Louis Freeh: "I have not given up on encryption"

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date:          Mon, 08 Feb 1999 22:24:14 -0500
From:          Declan McCullagh <>
Subject:       FC: Louis Freeh: "I have not given up on encryption"

On February 4, FBI Director Louis Freeh testified before the Senate
Appropriations subcommittee chaired by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH).

Since the topic was counterterrorism, the discussion naturally turned
to encryption.

You may remember the FBI in September 1997 persuaded one House
committee to make it a federal crime to manufacture, sell, or import
unapproved encryption devices (including hardware and software). That
bill never made it to the House floor.



SEN. GREGG: Have you given up on  encryption? 
MR.  FREEH:  I have not given up on  encryption. 
SEN. GREGG: I thought you might have.
MR.  FREEH:  And I am pleased to report that both the attorney general
and I have had very good discussions with leaders of the industry.  We
have reached some agreements on the support of a technical center.  In
fact, the legislation

that was passed in October gives us the authority to receive their
offer of services and personnel to solve some of these problems on a
case-by-case basis,

if not on a global basis.
And we're very optimistic about that.  We also believe, however, that
we need to come back to the Congress for authority and certainly for
support in implementing a program where we have non-mandatory controls
but incentives which will give our industry the impetus to continue to
support what we want to establish.


This is from Freeh's prepared statement:

Terrorists, both abroad and at home, are using technology to protect
their operations from being discovered and thwart the efforts of law
enforcement to detect, prevent, and investigate such acts. Convicted
spy Aldrich Ames was told

by his Russian handlers to encrypt his computer files. International
drug traffickers also are using  encryption  to avoid detection by law
enforcement. Most  encryption  products manufactured today for use by
the general public are non-recoverable. This means they do not include
features that provide for timely law enforcement access to the plain
text of encrypted communications and computer files that are lawfully
seized. Law enforcement remains in unanimous agreement that the
continued widespread availability and increasing use of strong,
non-recoverable  encryption  products will soon nullify our effective
use of court authorized electronic surveillance and the execution of
lawful search and seizure warrants. The loss of these capabilities
will devastate our capabilities for fighting crime, preventing acts of
terrorism, and protecting the national security. Recently, discussions
with industry have indicated a willingness to work with law
enforcement in meeting our concerns and assisting in developing a law
enforcement counterencryption capability. I strongly urge the Congress
to adopt a balanced public policy on  encryption,  one that carefully
balances the legitimate needs of law enforcement to protect our
Nation's citizens and preserve the national security with the needs of
individuals. The demand for accessing, examining, and analyzing
computers and computer storage media for evidentiary purposes is
becoming increasingly critical to our ability to investigate
terrorism, child pornography, computer-facilitated crimes, and other
cases. In the past, the Subcommittee has supported FBI efforts to
establish a data forensics capability through our Computer Analysis

Teams. There is a need to further expand this capability to address a
growing workload. Indeed, our limited capability has created a backlog
that impacts on both investigations and prosecutions.

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