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1 April 1998

Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 13:29:54 +0000
From: Lynne Jones <>

As promised, I attach a transcript of the text of the letter we received
today from Alun Michael MP, Minister of State at the Home Office, about

Chloe Hardy (LYNNE JONES MP)

C0742A~1.DOC [Converted to txt]:

Thank you for your letter of 20 January enclosing this one from your 
constituent [name and address removed for purposes of confidentiality],
about regulating the use of encryption.

I can first assure Mr [name removed] that the Government has no plans 
to make it a criminal offence to use encryption technology for the 
purposes of ensuring confidentiality of digital communications.  Indeed, 
we recognise that the provision of cryptographic services is necessary 
to provide trust and security for business transactions over digital 
communication networks.

It is important, however, that we consider carefully the possible 
implications of encryption for law enforcement agencies.  In particular,
lawful access to encryption keys may be necessary in certain 
circumstances.  It would not be in the public interest to allow the 
improper use of encryption by criminals to be totally immune from the 
attention of law enforcement agencies.  For example, it may be necessary 
to have lawful access to an encryption key in order to decrypt data 
seized as part of an investigation into serious crime.

Finally, I should say that the Government hopes to announce shortly its 
policy on the provision of cryptographic services.  In the meantime, 
however, I hope this provides some reassurance to Mr [name removed].

Yours sincerely,