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Re: Laws Outside the U.S.
> From: Phil Karn <[email protected]>
> Okay, how about the text of the French law regulating cryptography?
> It's available as http://www.ens.fr/equipes_dmi/grecc/loi.html. It's
> in French, and unfortunately my 3 years of high school study aren't up
> to the task. Anybody out there fluent in the language who would care
> to prepare an English translation?
OK, here is a first shot at the translation of the French law articles
that were reported to be posted at:
There are still a few questions I need to ask the original transcriber
(who left no email address of course), or others. So, for now, consider
this a limited private distribution, for cypherpunk eyes only. I'll
repost with the answers later (If and when I ever get them.)
Given the latest entertaining news from France, simply translating
French law into English may be a crime. American officials would add:
"Yeah! That's it!, even for foreigners operating outside their/my/any
As to the quality of the translation: I'm not an american lawyer, nor a
french lawyer, and any given legal paragraph can usually be interpreted
either way. This may not even be my reading tomorrow... To avoid
confusing things even further, I'll limit my comments in the translation
to remarks concerning the translation itself, in square brackets .
And don't blame me for the quality of the English, the French itself is
laughable (although much more understandable than tax law, let me tell
you :-) The drastic editing is the responsibility of the previous
transcribers. All typos are my computer's fault. I wasn't even there.
[French] Law number 90-1170, published in the "Journal Officiel" of
December 30, 1990.
(The first 27 articles concern the encryption of information transmitted
via radio or mail.)
Article 28. - By cryptologic services, one means all services aimed at
transforming through secret conventions information or clear signals into
information or signals unintelligible by third parties, or at achieving
the reverse operation, via means, hardware or software, designed to that
end. To preserve the interests of defense and internal or external national
security, the supply, export, or use of cryptologic means or services are
a) to prior declaration when this means or service can have no other use
than authenticating a communication or than ensuring the integrity of the
b) to prior authorization by the Prime Minister in all other cases.
A decree of the "Conseil d'Etat" [President and some ministers, if I
recall] determines the circumstances in which the declaration is filed,
or the authorization granted, as per the previous paragraph. This decree
can make provisions for a simplified system of declaration or
authorization for certain types of equipment or services, or for certain
categories of users.
II. - In addition to the provisions of the customs code, anyone having
exported a cryptologic means, or having provided or made to be provided
a cryptologic service without the authorization mentioned in paragraph I
of the present article, will be punished by a fine of 6000 F [US$1,200] to
500 000 F [US$100,000] and by imprisonment of one to three months or by
one of these two sentences only. The court can, in addition, forbid the
person from requesting this authorization for a period of at most two years,
or five years for subsequent offenses. In case of conviction, the court
can, in addition, pronounce the forfeiture of the cryptologic equipment.
III. - In addition to police officers and customs officers in their
jurisdiction, agents authorized for this purpose by the Prime Minister
and sworn in the conditions specified by the "Conseil d'Etat", can
investigate and report by a [sworn, whatever] statement any violations of
the present article and of the corresponding regulations. Their statements
are forwarded within five days to the "Procureur de la Republique"
[district attorney ?].
They can enter business locations and transportation means, request the
disclosure of any business documents and take copies of them. They can,
on location or by convocation, collect information and justifications.
Decree Number 92-1358 of December 28, 1992, published in the "Journal
Officiel" of December 30, 1992.
Decision of December 28, 1992 about declarations and requests for
authorization relative to cryptologic equipment and services.
Art. 4 - Require prior declaration, the provision, export, and use of
any cryptologic equipment and services ... in particular :
- The equipment, hardware or software, susceptible to ensure the
confidentiality of communications of any nature, or the confidentiality
of data stored in memory;
- Cryptologic services that ensure the confidentiality of all or part
of a communication, or of data stored in memory;
- Cryptoanalytic equipment and services.
[This "declaration" article may in fact be an "authorization" article.
That would be a pretty major mistake of the previous transcriber, and
Art. 6 - Smart cards that do not allow, in and of themselves, that is
without the need for external cryptologic devices, to ensure the
confidentiality of communications, benefit of the same declarations filed
and authorizations obtained for the equipment and services with which
they are used.
Art. 7 - Are not considered cryptologic equipment, the means, hardware or
software, specifically designed for the protection of software against
illegal copying or use, even if they use methods or devices kept
secret, on the condition that they do not allow the encryption, either
directly or indirectly of that software package.
Art. 9 - In case of uncertainty of the requestor, as to whether some
equipment or service belongs to the category of cryptologic equipment
and services, the central service for the security of information
systems is consulted.
Paris, Decmber 28, 1992.
French version according to Jerome RABENOU
Student at the Villetaneuse Law School.
Paris - France.
(may have been edited by webmaster [email protected])
Tentative translation: Pierre Uszynski.