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Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

March 4, 1998
For 1 P.M. Release

For Further Information Contact:

Barry Steinhardt
(203) 226-4897
(415) 436-9333, ext. 102

EFF and Privacy Organizations Issue Statement at Launch of New

Industry-Led Alliance on Encryption Controls.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today issued a joint

statement with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) at the Washington, DC,
event launching the formation of a new industry-led alliance - Americans
for Computer Privacy (ACP) - which has been created to advocate against
restrictions on the use of encryption.

EFF President Barry Steinhardt said, "We welcome the enhanced

presence of the business community in the campaign to combat the Clinton
Administration's policy of restricting the strong use of encryption."

"Encryption software is a vital technology for protecting

American citizens' privacy and guarding U.S. commercial security, and we
want to work with our industry allies to remove the current export
controls and to ward off all domestic controls," Steinhardt continued.

Steinhardt noted that EFF is the principal sponsor of Bernstein

v. Dept. of Justice, which is the leading case challenging the
constitutionality of restrictions on the export of strong cryptography.
In that case, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel (Northern District
of California) issued a landmark ruling that computer source code is a
form of speech protected under the First Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution. She held that the current export controls violated the
free speech rights of Daniel Bernstein, an academic cryptographer, who
sought to distribute his work. The case is now on appeal to the 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals, and a ruling is expected shortly.

"The Bernstein case can deal a significant blow to the

Administration's plans to deny Americans the tools they need to protect
their privacy in the digital world," Steinhardt said.


Joint Statement of ACLU, EFF and EPIC.

The protection of privacy is one of the greatest challenges facing

our country today. As leading civil liberties organizations that
have worked to safeguard this important right, we have long
recognized the importance of technologies such as encryption for
the protection of personal privacy.

We welcome the creation of Americans for Computer Privacy (ACP).

Our organizations support the efforts of the industry-led
ACP coalition to foster an informed public debate on encryption
policy, an issue that affects all citizens. We believe that the
ACP will be an important ally in the ongoing effort to protect
personal privacy in the digital age and we look forward to working
together towards a complete and unrestricted repeal of the current
controls on the export of strong cryptography and to resist any
domestic restrictions on the use of encryption.

These new technologies will make it possible for us to safeguard

our most personal information. Whether they seek security for
communications about intimate personal matters, medical
information, credit card transactions, human rights activities or
controversial political opinions, American citizens expect and
deserve the right to communicate privately both within the United
States and across national borders. Unfortunately, the government
seeks to limit our right to use encryption.

We believe that current government encryption policy must change.

We led the campaign against the ill-conceived Clipper Chip scheme,
which would have placed the keys to encrypted communications in
the hands of government agencies. We continue to oppose the
funding of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
(CALEA), an FBI-backed law that -- despite the record levels to
which law enforcement wiretapping has soared -- would require the
telecommunications industry to build enhanced digital wiretapping
capabilities into the Nation's telephone system.

The civil liberties community is also pursuing important claims in

the courts to preserve the freedom to use encryption. We believe
that cases such as Bernstein v. Department of Justice currently
offer our best hope for reform of the limitations on encryption.

As civil libertarians, we support two principal goals that must be

incorporated into our national encryption policy:
- Repeal of existing U.S. controls on the export of encryption
products and technology for everyone, not simply mass-market
producers of encryption software; and

- Preserving the right of all Americans to use any encryption

product or technique they wish, both domestically and abroad.

Furthermore, we oppose:

- Any government attempts to regulate the domestic use of


- Legal provisions that would criminalize the use of encryption,

such as those in all of the pending legislative proposals;

- Requirements for "key-escrow" or "key-recovery" techniques that

would enable government access to private communications or data;

- Linkages between the issuance of a digital signature or other

electronic authentication certificate and the escrowing or
registration of an encryption key.

A policy reflecting these goals would ensure the widespread

availability of robust and secure encryption products, a result
that will be critical for our nation's continued leadership of the
information industry and the protection of personal privacy.

We look forward to working with the ACP and its member

organizations in support of these objectives.

American Civil Liberties Union

Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center

Barry Steinhardt (, President

Electronic Frontier Foundation
tel: +1 415 436 9333
fax +1 414 436 9993
1550 Bryant Street, Ste. 725
San Francisco, CA 94103

EFF supports the Global Internet Liberty Campaign



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