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EPIC and PI Charge US Violates Intl Crypto Agreement

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 00:57:11 +0100
From: Dave Banisar <[email protected]>
Subject: EPIC and PI Charge US Violates Intl Crypto Agreement

Press Release.

Privacy Groups Criticize United States Crypto Policy.

Charge US Violation of International Agreement.

Brussels - Two leading privacy organizations said today that the United
States cryptography policy violates an international agreement reached
earlier this year by more than two dozen countries at the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center and Privacy International said
that recent legislative proposals introduced in the United States to
establish controls on the use of data scrambling technology are contrary to
the principles adopted by the OECD and should be withdrawn.

Marc Rotenberg, the director of EPIC and a member of the expert panel that
drafted the guidelines, said that "the OECD framework is based on the
voluntary, market-driven development of encryption products and services.
The Guidelines emphasize the importance of privacy protection and the need
for careful assessment of any key escrow proposal. Their  were specifically
intended to remove technical and legal obstacles to the use of
cryptography. But the US policy now points in exactly  the opposite
direction -- extensive government regulation, little regard for privacy,
and the rapid development of key escrow techniques regardless of the

Mr. Rotenberg said that the OECD member countries considered and explicitly
rejected the US recommendation that cryptography policy be based on law
enforcement access to private communications. "That proposal was turned
down by the OECD member countries. The United States accepted the judgment
of the OECD and endorsed the final recommendations. The U.S. should now
honor its commitment," said Mr. Rotenberg.

Simon Davies, Director General of Privacy International, said "The rush to
encourage technologies for communications surveillance comes at exactly the
wrong time. Illegal wiretapping is on the rise around the world.
Dissidents, political opponents, journalists, and human rights organizers
are most often the targets."

The current issue of the International Privacy Bulletin includes a review
of worldwide privacy abuses in 1996. Electronic surveillance features
prominently in the report. The review is based on "The Country Reports for
Human Rights Practices," prepared annually by the U.S. State Department.

Mr. Rotenberg and Mr. Davies said that the U.S. policy now stands as the
single greatest barrier to the development of tools to protect privacy and
security on the Internet.

The statement was made at a conference this week in Belgium, hosted by
Privacy International and EPIC, on "Cryptography and the Internet:
Developing Privacy and Security Policy for the European Information
Society."  Participants from more than twenty countries attended the event.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a civil liberties
organizations, based in Washington, DC. Privacy International is a human
rights organization concerned with privacy, surveillance and data
protection issues worldwide. It is based in London. Both organizations are
members of the Global Internat Liberty Campaign.


 o EPIC [http://www.epic.org/]
 o Privacy International [http://www.privacy.org/pi/]
 o Global Internet Liberty Campaign [http://www.gilc.org/]
 o Brussels Cryptography Conference
 o OECD Cryptography Policy Guidelines

CONTACT (15-17 September)

 Marc Rotenberg, EPIC (Brussels +32 2 227 05 05, voicemail +1 202 298 0824)
 Simon Davies, PI (Brussels +32 2 513 29 73)