January 13, 2000

Washington, DC- The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has long supported the elimination of ineffective and counterproductive encryption export controls and applauds the Clinton Administration for fulfilling the promise of unburdening our industry from these unwise and unnecessary restrictions.

In response to yesterday’s release of interim final regulations by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Export Administration, CCIA President Edward J. Black stated, “We believe this is truly a sea change for the high-tech industry and consumers. Our members have been unanimous in their view that export controls have weakened electronic security on balance while tilting the marketplace so that domestic encryption products could not compete in the worldwide market. The Administration’s new regulations largely eliminate this inequity.”

Encryption is the primary means by which digital information and communications is protected from unauthorized access by hackers, criminals, spies, or just the curious. Through cryptography, computer users can scramble their data, rendering it indecipherable to interlopers.

CCIA has been a leader in efforts to persuade this and previous Administrations to eliminate encryption restrictions as well as efforts to enact legislation such as H.R. 850, the Security and Freedom through Encryption (SAFE) Act, which would lift most controls on encryption exports. “The SAFE bill really provided the impetus for this new policy, and its chief sponsors, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-California), deserve much of the credit for this victory.”

It took insight and courage to finally change the fundamental concepts of a flawed policy, and while the new regulations are somewhat complicated and leave some matters unaddressed, we believe that the interim final regulations will allow our companies to export their products and provide confidentiality and security to consumers.”

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