ACP Welcomes Administration’s Response to Proposal

Announcement seen as positive first step toward sensible encryption policy
Washington, DC – (September 15) (September 16) The following statement was issued today by Ed Gillespie, Executive Director of Americans for Computer Privacy (ACP):

Americans for Computer Privacy (ACP) welcomes the Administration’s response to our proposal for interim export relief for strong encryption, and considers today’s announcement to be a positive first step toward a sensible long-term policy. ACP and congressional advocates for computer privacy have worked hard with the Administration to balance the rights and needs of American citizens and companies for strong encryption with the government’s law enforcement and national security requirements. Today’s proposal appears to move toward that goal, especially in its effective abandonment of a key-management infrastructure and domestic controls.

While today’s proposal builds on ACP’s recommendations for interim measures to expand the existing exemptions for financial institutions and adopts our suggested approach for “sectoral relief,” it does not provide for as much relief as we had sought in our May 8th proposal, nor is it close to a final resolution of this important issue. In the long term, we continue to believe that American interests are best served by a policy that permits American industry to maintain its world leadership in information technology. Key to that success is giving consumers around the world the ability to purchase mass market encryption products they need to protect their privacy. We will continue to work diligently toward these goals.

As we know, the devil is always in the details. Since implementation of the Administration’s new policy will require complex regulations, we are nevertheless mindful of the fact that its true merit can only be judged in the months ahead. We look forward to working with the Administration, Congress and other interested third parties in the coming months to flesh out those regulations so that the promised relief will truly assist American citizens and companies.

We encourage Congress to carefully review the new policy to determine whether it adequately protects the privacy rights of American citizens and ensures that U.S. companies can compete fairly in world markets.