Time: Mon Sep 15 04:52:30 1997
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	Mon, 15 Sep 1997 04:44:24 -0700 (MST)
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 04:44:06 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: U.S. House Panel Approves Encryption Limits

>>From Reuters
>Subject: US House Panel Approves Encryption Limits
>Friday September 12 2:28 PM EDT 
>US House Panel Approves Encryption Limits
>WASHINGTON - The House Select Intelligence Committee on Thursday passed a
>substitute bill that if enacted would for the first time impose sweeping
>domestic restrictions on use of computer encoding technology. 
>The committee voted in a closed session on the substitute to a bill
>authored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia, that began as an
>effort to prevent domestic restrictions and relax export limits on
>encryption technology. 
>But the legislation faces as uncertain future, as other committees have
>passed different versions of the bill. 
>Less than two months ago, opponents of strict U.S. export controls on
>encryption announced that they had the support of a majority of the House
>for a bill to eliminate most restrictions. 
>But since then, the Clinton administration stepped up its lobbying
>campaign, sending the heads of the FBI and the National Security Agency to
>Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers in classified hearings on the dangers posed
>by free export of encryption. 
>Encryption, which can be included in everything from telephones to
>electronic mail software, uses mathematical formulas to scramble
>information and protect it from snoopers, hackers, or criminals. The
>technology is an increasingly critical means of securing electronic
>commerce and global communications on the Internet. 
>On Tuesday, the House National Security Committee gutted the bill to relax
>export controls. An amendment to tighten export controls passed on a 45 to
>one vote, with more than a dozen backers of the original bill voting for
>the more- stringent restrictions. 
>On Thursday, lawmakers offered further amendments in the Select
>Intelligence Committee and the Commerce Committee which would impose
>domestic controls on the use of encryption, currently unregulated with the
>United States. 
>The amendments would require all encryption manufacturers to include a
>feature allowing the government to decode any message covertly. The
>proposals also would require network operators, Internet providers and
>phone companies to ensure that any encryption services they provide to
>customers can be cracked by law enforcement agencies. 
>FBI director Louis Freeh has said such legislation is needed to allow law
>enforcement agencies to continue to tap conversations of criminals and
>terrorists as encryption spreads. 
>But the high-tech industry countered that the technology to allow
>eavesdropping would increase the vulnerability and raise the cost of all
>electronic messages sent by law-abiding citizens and businesses, while
>criminals would disable the back doors. 
>And Internet user groups and civil libertarians said such domestic
>restrictions are likely to lead to Orwellian infringements of citizen's
>right to privacy. Some argue the restriction are unconstitutional. 
>Copyright, Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved 
># # #

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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