IBM has been granted permission to export 56-bit encryption programs by the US Government.
The company is one of few organisations to acknowledge receiving a licence under the new Clinton administration policy that came about at the turn of the year. Up until then, US companies could only export 40-bit programs. Digital Equipment, Trusted Information Systems, and Cylink have also received licences.
In return for allowing the companies to export 56-bit programs, the US Commerce Department has made them promise that they will include key recovery features in the software within two years, making it possible for the government to crack the codes.
The announcement follows last month's scare when a Californian student cracked a message encoded with 40-bit programs in under four hours. 56-bit messages are about 65,000 times harder to crack.
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