Encryption control is the first thorny issue to be tackled by a research organisation backed by Microsoft.
A new think-tank, the Foundation for Information Policy Research, which formally constituted itself this week, brings together technical and legal experts to help shape government policy.
The first report to be published by the group will examine export controls on encryption technology in Europe and will respond to the European Union's digital signature directive.
Also earmarked for examination are developments of copyright law and a study into how to avoid public sector IT project failures.
The foundation's full-time director, Caspar Bowden said the think-tank aims to promote non-technical understanding of the ?complex technical issues where their inherent complexity has significant social impact?.
It is supported by a high-profile body of trustees including the head of Microsoft's research lab in Cambridge, Professor Roger Needham, and NatWest's retail bank chief, Tim Jones.
Other trustees include Cambridge computer science academic Ross Anderson, and head of civil liberties group Liberty, John Wadham.
The foundation is currently financially backed only by Microsoft, to the tune of #100,000, but the think-tank hopes to boost its funds to #250,000 in a few months.
Dan Sabbagh is a reporter on Computing
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