PublishedMarch 4, 1998

CCIA Praises Goals of Coalition to Remove Barriers on Encryption and Privacy

(Washington, DC) — The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) is proud to be an original member of a new coalition of broad business interests dedicated to protecting information security in the digital age and opposing new federal restrictions on the use and sale of encryption technology. With nearly three decades of combined staff experience devoted to export control issues, CCIA believes our organization will be a vital member of Americans for Computer Privacy.

“It is apparent to everyone except the Clinton Administration that unilateral controls on the export of strong encryption will not work,” said CCIA’s John Scheibel, Vice President and General Counsel. “Absent multi-lateral consensus, the current Administration policy will ensure that high-tech companies cannot compete abroad and jobs will be lost. In effect, we will be exporting jobs rather than encryption technology.

“Strong encryption is available for use in this country and internationally. Maintaining the right to use the type of encryption necessary to protect computer files and communications is critical to the success of the Internet and the future of global electronic commerce. We must not force Americans to forfeit their constitutional right to privacy as a condition for participating in the Information Age,” he said.

“In the name of law enforcement, the Administration seeks to restrict the use and sale of strong encryption when recent reports of hacking attempts confirm that strong encryption will prevent crime,” Scheibel continued. “Yet FBI proposals threaten to renege on the Administration’s promise not to impose domestic controls on encryption. This approach is little more than industrial policy and doomed to fail.”

CCIA believes that the government should not dictate which encryption technology is used. To the extent that key recovery or any other element of the government’s approach is adopted, this should be market driven — not government imposed.

CCIA is an association of computer and communications industry firms, representing a broad cross-section of the industry. CCIA is dedicated to preserving full, free and open competition throughout our industry.

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