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Encryption bills pose challenges for Congress

Matt Hamblen | Feb. 1, 2016
National discourse harkens back to 'crypto wars' of 1990s.

Bocek said there was a broad national discussion about cryptography policy that was fought in the 1990s. "The crypto wars of the 1990s won freedom and there's no sense in moving backwards," he said. "Encryption controls were very painful years ago and here we are again, facing the same problem which can harm American business. Encryption, keys and certificates must be free … Blanket legislation will do nothing but cause more problems."

In 1996, the National Academy of Sciences published a 688-page document entitled Crytography's Role in Securing the Information Society. In the executive summary, the authors wrote a preamble that seems to summarize the ongoing encryption debate in 2016: "U.S. policy should be changed to promote and encourage the widespread use of cryptography for the protection of the information interests of individuals, businesses, government agencies and the nation as a whole, while respecting legitimate national needs of law enforcement and intelligence for national security and foreign policy purposes to the extent consistent with good information protection."

 

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