Thursday, February 25, 1999
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose, Ca.) is proud to re-introduce the Security and Freedom through Encryption (SAFE) Act to put U.S. encryption policy on a sensible footing.
Lofgren joins her Republican colleague on the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, in sponsoring the bill, which would preserve the privacy of confidential files and communications in the Information Age, while supporting the sale of strong U.S. encryption products to customers around the world.
The SAFE Act is among the first major pieces of legislation introduced in the 106th Congress to draw bipartisan leadership support. Original co-sponsors include Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-Tx.), Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-Tx.), Minority Whip David Bonior (D-Mi.), House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (R-Ok.), and Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost (D-Tx.), among others.
“The SAFE Act would loosen export controls on encryption products, enable Americans to communicate securely, and protect the integrity of our public networks. It is time for the government to recognize that superior encryption products are already widely available and being sold by overseas competitors, and that the current controls only hurt American industry without furthering law enforcement and national security goals,” said Lofgren, who has taken a lead on a number of technology issues since coming to Congress in 1994.
“Encryption is the best way to protect information communicated over the Internet and to maintain the security of our telecommunication infrastructure. Yet the privacy of all Americans will be threatened if we don’t change our current course, for our country’s encryption policy makes all Americans’ digital information and communications more susceptible to hackers, terrorists, and criminals. In the name of promoting greater investigative ability for law enforcement, all Americans have been made more vulnerable to illicit or surreptitious access to our computer files, our phone conversations, and our personal information.
“In addition, current encryption policy threatens the ability of our technology industries to compete internationally. Since strong encryption is widely available worldwide, efforts to control its spread through export controls will ultimately prove fruitless, benefiting no one but America9s competitors. If we do not change our encryption policy, the cost could be as high as $60 billion a year and 200,000 jobs by 2000.”
ENCRYPTION — Lofgren is the lead Democratic sponsor of the Security and Freedom Through Encryption (SAFE) Act, which would preserve the privacy of confidential files and communications in the Information Age while supporting the sale of strong U.S. encryption products around the world
PATENT REFORM — Lofgren was one of the Democratic floor managers for the 21st Century Patent Improvement Act (H.R. 400), which the House passed on April 23, 1997. Because it failed to move through the Senate, it will remain among Lofgren’s top priorities for this Congress.
HIGH-PERFORMANCE COMPUTERS — Lofgren will continue to advocate for a reasonable export policy to allow American computer manufacturers to compete with comparable foreign products readily available to customers overseas. She supports a policy that would allow the level of exports controls to be adjusted in recognition of constant advancements in computing power worldwide.
E-RATE — Lofgren was a key player in creating and now fighting to save the Universal Service Program, popularly known as the “e-rate.” The e-rate provides affordable Internet access for schools, libraries, and rural health centers.
INTERNET TAXES — Lofgren was a leader in securing the passage of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 4105) to impose a moratorium on Internet taxes.
BIOMATERIALS — Lofgren was a co-sponsor who played a crucial role in crafting the compromises that generated broad bipartisan support for the Biomaterials Access Assurance Act (H.R. 872), which Congress passed last year to end the shortage of biomaterials available to medical device manufactures by protecting biomaterials suppliers from inappropriate lawsuits.
SECURITIES LITIGATION — Lofgren was a co-sponsor of the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (H.R. 1689). The act applies uniform federal standards to securities litigation related to nationally traded securities. The high-tech industry has been a prime target of frivolous lawsuits filed in response to fluctuations in the stock market.
H1-B VISAS — Lofgren was a key player in ensuring the passage of H1-B legislation to allow American technology companies to employ the world9s best and brightest high-skilled professionals.