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Crypto export regs copied by 30 countries.

If this has already been posted, I missed it.


------- Forwarded Message

The US Commerce Department reported on December 3 that the Wassenaar
Arrangement, a 33-country group that works on exports of military goods,
has reached an agreement on setting limits on international transfers
of encryption.

The new agreement reportedly allows for exports of crypto products up to 56
bits for all crypto and 64 bits for mass market software or hardware.
These changes reflect both a relaxation and an increase in restrictions.
Currently, cryptography items are strictly controlled. However, mass market
software is exempt. Only a few countries including the US currently
restrict exports of mass market software.

The decision to implement these changes will remain with each country and
this agreement may not result in any changes in current practice. As the
Secretariat notes on their web page: "The decision to transfer or deny
transfer of any item will be the sole responsibility of each Participating
State. All measures undertaken with respect to the arrangement will be in
accordance with national legislation and policies and will be implemented
on the basis of national discretion." The US has been lobbying the other
members to adopt more restrictive laws. However, many nations such as
Finland, Canada and Ireland have announced domestic policies in the past
year which allow for more liberal exports.

Earlier this year members of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign,
an international organizations of civil liberties groups around
the world, wrote to the Wassenaar Secretariat and urged the removal
of controls on cryptography. The GILC Statement said that "failure to
protect the free use and distribution of cryptographic software will
jeopardize the life and freedom of human rights activists, journalists
and political activists all over the world."

The announcement from the US Department of Commerce on the new
Wassenaar controls came in the same week that the White House said that
it would pursue a policy of "self-regulation" for Internet commerce.

More information on Wassenaar is available from:


GILC Statement:


WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Clinton administration officials on Thursday
said they had persuaded other leading countries to impose strict new export
controls on computer data-scrambling products under the guise of arms control.

At a meeting on Thursday in Vienna, the 33 nations that have signed the
Wassenaar Arrangement limiting arms exports -- including Japan, Germany and
Britain -- agreed to impose controls on the most powerful data-scrambling
technologies, including for the first time mass-market software, U.S.
special envoy for cryptography David Aaron told Reuters.

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