Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

U.S. / Australian Crypto Policy

Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 15:31:19 -0500 From: Vin McLellan <> To: Subject: AUCRYPTO: RSA Down Under

Stewart Baker <>, Washington attorney, acting chairman of the President's Export Council's Subcommittee on Encryption, former NSA General Counsel, and an usually savvy commentator on crypto politics and US export controls, wrote on Dave Farber's IP List:

> RSA's Australian crypto announcement should be taken with a
> grain of salt. Australia may have somewhat more lenient
> encryption export practices than the US, but it is in fact
> closely aligned with the US on most such issues.

Historically -- particularly, spook to spook -- this is certainly true, at least in statutes and regulations controlling the export of commercial crypto code exported from Australia on magnetic media. See Part III, category 5/2, of the Australian Controls on the Export of Defence and Strategic Goods. Crypto software at:

<> See also

the FAQ from Electronic Frontier, Australia, at:


> As I said to one reporter, moving from the US to Australia
> because you don't like US encryption controls is like moving
> from Minneapolis to Chicago because you don't like cold
> winters -- quite possibly an improvement but not exactly a
> solution.

Great line, but....

For many years, Australia has allowed the virtually unrestricted distribution, over the Internet, of many of the most popular free industrial-strength cryptosystems, crypto libraries, and crypto-enhanced application packages. A public FTP site at the Australian Defence Force Academy offers unrestricted downloads of PGPi, has for years. Imagine the culture shock if the US suddenly became a nation in which West Point had a website which offered free and trusted e-mail encryption software, over the Internet, to any citizen of any country!