Signs of Good News on the Crypto Front...
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 97 00:09:32 -0700
Subject: Signs of Good News on the Crypto Front...
Excerpted-from: TBTF for 6/16/97: Tasty Bits from the Technology Front
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Keith Dawson)
A recent accelerating cascade of events in the battle for encryption
export all point toward defeat for the Clinton Administra- tion's
policies. What began as straws in the wind have given way, to extend
the metaphor, to trashcan lids, automobiles, and house trailers.
- 5/19: Sun Goes Around . Sun Microsystems, in a move that
seems calculated to apply maximum torque to the noses of B.
Clinton and A. Gore, announced that it will sell, worldwide,
strong crypto products developed in conjunction with a Russian
company in which Sun has invested. The company, Elvis+, will
supply cryptographic components for Sun's virtual-tunnel tech-
nology. This puts Sun in a position to offer 128-bit and triple-
DES (168-bit) crypto anywhere in the world, without key escrow
or key recovery. Sun did not apply for an export license, be
cause it will not export the Russian software from US sites.
Sun had no hand in its development, beyond publishing the specs
to which it was written.
- 5/21: Sybase Gets a Walk . The current export rules, ef-
fective last January, stipulate that companies may apply for
permission to export 56-bit crypto only if at the same time
they file a plan for implementing key recovery within two years.
Sybase announced that it had won approval to export database and
server products with 56-bit DES encryption, even though the
company has no model for key recovery.
- 5/28: VeriFone Gets OK for SET . VeriFone announced that
its Secure Electronic Transaction -based product suite has
received export approval from the Commerce Department. This is
the first time a SET-based, end-to-end, full-strength-crypto Net
commerce solution has been cleared for export.
- 5/28: PGP Obtains a Blanket Waiver . Well, sort of. The
export rules always contained exceptions for software distrib-
uted to the overseas subsidiaries of US corporations. The news
is that PGP does not have to apply one at a time for permission
to ship its strong crypto products to anyone who works for one
of the 107 companies on this list .
- 6/2: A Longtime Administration Backer Rethinks . Dorothy
Denning, long the only cryptographer the Administration could
count on for support, is starting to waver in her position.
"Maybe export controls should be lifted," she said. "But I'm
not saying that all controls should be lifted. I've gotten
into a state where I don't know and I'm not sure that I ever
- 6/11: SJ Mercury News Editorializes . In an editorial entitled
"Feds have lost the battle against encryption," the San Jose news-
paper says "Government warriors should pack up their rusty cannons,
admit that they've lost this battle, and learn to live in the
- 6/11: Overheard in the Halls. Declan McCullagh wrote to the
Cryptography list: "I ran into Mike Nelson, the Clinton admin-
istration's former crypto-spokesperson. Now he's at the FCC...
'I'm so glad to be away from crypto,' he told me."
For past coverage of the debate over cryptography export policy, see
TBTF Threads .
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© 1997 Peter Langston