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Council of Europe on Crypto: Finland
People have been digging the background of the Council of Europe
recommendations here in Finland. It has turned out that Finland was
represented an assistant director of the Criminal Police who is known
as a supporter of extremely broad powers for the police. At the
meeting, he has apparently presented his personal opinion as the
official opinion of Finland; later the Council unanimously decided to
recommend banning strong crypto. I hear a representative from Norway
had apparently tried to speak some sense at the meeting, but had
quickly been quieted by the others.
It has also turned out that there have been studies on legislating
cryptography and related issues in Finland during the past two years,
but without concrete plans. The officials in charge of these issues
were not aware of what was happening in Strasburg, and what Finland
apparently has presented there certainly does not represent a
concensus within the government. Things appear to be developing in
promising directions, but much more work is still needed until things
are on the right track.
I strongly urge people in other European countries to contact their
government officials, the press, and use other possible channels to
dig out what exactly was happening and why, and make the officials and
politicians understand the other issues that are related (computer
security, universal surveillance, ability of independent political
groups to function, trade secrets, etc).
Professors and other persons in expert positions are important sources
of information to the government in the preparatory process, and you
should provide the officials with experts to consult on the issues.
At least here it has turned out that preparations were being carried
out with very few independent experts, input coming almost exclusively
from the law enforcement side.
Tatu Ylonen <[email protected]>