[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Rep. Loretta Sanchez Hits Crypto Controls

The Sanchez statement is from House Report 105-108, Part 3, 
published September 12 by the National Security Committee, 
which describes the Weldon-Dellums amendment to SAFE.

See the full report at:


The report includes a cost estimate by the Congressional 
Budget Officefor implementing SAFE. However, as far as
I can tell, the estimate does not include the cost of a GAK
system, and covers only the cost of export controls. Thus,
it appears to be vastly misleading.


    Many of us when we think of encryption imagine the
``ENIGMA'' code breaking machines of World War Two or the
American Indian ``code talkers'' that helped us anticipate and
defeat Nazi and Imperial Japanese attacks. Those methods were
mechanical or human-based, and often depended on simple
arithmetical slight of hand to trick the enemy. Today,
encryption is complex mathematical algorithms that have become
an entirely new branch of mathematics involving intense
academic study.
    Until recently encryption was limited to governments and
large companies through U.S. export limitations and by the
limitations of existing hardware and software technologies. All
that began to change as the desktop computer became more
prevalent and the computing power available to the average user
jumped by leaps and bounds every year. When discussing the
power of the PC observers of the information technology
industry often predict that the computing power of
microprocessors would double roughly every 18 months.
    Because of this the rapidly developing speed and growth of
computers, the age of the ``unbreakable code'' has long since
passed. Manufacturers of encryption technology are engaged in a
rapidly accelerating race to develop the newest and strongest
code that can withstand attacks from the increasingly powerful
computers of the day. And it isn't just big companies and
governments that have the technology to break codes. Last
January, a graduate student broke a 40-bit code in just three-
and-a-half hours, the toughest code form American companies at
the time were allowed to export.
    Today, American companies are the world leaders in
encryption technology, but other companies and nations are
catching up. Strong encryption products and knowledge about the
science of cryptography is not limited to the United States. A
savvy computer user anywhere in the world can with just a few
clicks of the mouse find U.S. export-embargoed encryption. Many
freelancing code hackers maintain off-shore Internet meeting
sites to discuss the newest holes in encryption products.
    The proposed export controls which the Administration
argues helps to keep strong encryption out of the hands of
foreign adversaries will have little or no effect. Strong
encryption is available abroad and US companies are being put
at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace.
    With this bleak and seemingly hopeless picture in mind how
do we protect ourselves from the threat of rogue nations and
other adversaries cloaking their communications from American
National Security efforts? The only viable solution is through
supporting a robust and aggressively competitive cryptography
industry in the United States. We must ensure that the United
States continues to maintain the deepest pool of cryptographic
experts in the world. American export limitations will only
serve to create a brain drain of these precious resources as
leading scientists leave our shores for more lucrative and
accommodating surroundings.
    All of us care about our national security and no one wants
to make it any easier for criminals and terrorists to commit
criminal acts. But we must also recognize encryption
technologies as an increasingly sharp double-edged sword. It
can also aid law enforcement and protect national security by
limiting the threat of industrial espionage and foreign spying,
but only when Americans are able to produce the sharpest swords
and the strongest encryption.
    I would also like to state for the record that for the
reasons stated above, I do not support the Dellums-Weldon
Amendment to H.R. 695, and would have voted against it.

                                                   Loretta Sanchez.