President Clinton?s encryption export policy came under heavy fire on the opening day of the RSA Data Security conference in San Francisco, with four US senators pledging to overthrow the regulations introduced earlier this month.
New legislation introduced on 1 January means that suppliers of encryption technology can be granted export licences by the Commerce Department if they agree to participate in a key recovery scheme that gives law enforcement agencies limited access to the keys to decipher scrambled data.
The new regulations are regarded by the IT industry as unworkable and the RSA president lost no time in reminding Clinton of this at a pre-conference press briefing. "If Bill Clinton felt half our pain, he?d be doubled over," he said.
He argued that encryption should be viewed as ?digital envelopes?, adding that it had entirely legitimate uses in protecting personal privacy, not just as a tool for criminals and terrorists. "Any new technology that benefits society as a whole is going to benefit the criminal element," he said.
The conference heard from four senators - both Republican and Democrat - who declared their opposition to the new rule and pledged to reintroduce the Pro-Code Bill, a proposed piece of legislation to outlaw mandatory encryption key storage, which did not make it to a Senate hearing when first unveiled last year.
Playing the role of Daniel in the lion?s den was Ambassador David Aaron, dubbed Clinton?s 'crypto czar' for his role as special envoy on encryption, who was called upon to defend the new policy in his keynote address to the conference.
Seemingly aware of the hostile nature of his audience, Aaron made little attempt to win delegates over to the government?s way of thinking, prefering instead to repeat the main details of the new regulations and the thinking behind them.
He also pledged continuing efforts from the White House for plans to set up global encryption guidelines that would level the international playing field for suppliers. One of the major concerns of the US encryption industry is that non-US companies are not limited by such rigorous export regulations and are able to win business more easily as a result.
Allen died from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Stanford researchers made the discovery via data from Greenland
Created via a thin, flexible, and transparent hierarchical nanocomposite film
Rolls Royce will use AI powered by Intel's Xeon Gold processors and SSDs for memory