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13 December 1998. Thanks to GT.

Media Release                                     14th December 1998

              New Encryption Controls Condemned

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) today condemned the recently
announced revision of an international protocol which placed new
restrictions on the availability of privacy-enhancing tools for
electronic communication.

On the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, 33 nations, including Australia, bowed to US demands
to restrict the export of cryptography software, tools which are
often used by human rights organisations such as Amnesty to inform
the world of atrocities committed by repressive governments.

The Wassenaar Arrangement, which was originally established in 1996
to control the export of strategic military weapons, has now
extended its scope to include mass market encryption tools, in a
move that has been greeted with widespread disapproval.

EFA spokesperson Greg Taylor said, "Cryptography controls have been
universally condemned by privacy advocates, industry groups, and
professional bodies for many years.  At a time when there was an
expectation that common sense might finally prevail, the world's
cold warriors have met in closed session in Vienna to rebuff their
many critics and to extend existing controls to commonly available
commercial products."

The new arrangement places restrictions on the export of mass
market security software using keys greater than 64 bits, at a time
when most security experts believe that a minimum of 128 bits is
essential for secure communications.

"Cryptography is not a weapon", Mr. Taylor said.  "It is a defensive
tool that is a necessary element in resisting information warfare
attacks.   By agreeing to US demands, Australia's Wassenaar
delegation has tacitly accepted that restrictions should be placed
on Australian citizens, who will continue to be deprived of access to
many high-strength security products, particularly from the USA.  The
controls defy rational analysis", he said, "because high quality
strong crypto products are freely available in the public domain. 
The real reasons behind such controls can only be speculated upon."

Predictably the Internet community has responded to this latest
threat of enhanced global surveillance by demonstrating that
mathematics cannot be banned.  Websites are now springing up around
the world making available high-strength security products for

"EFA will now be stepping up its public awareness campaign on
cryptography restrictions," said EFA Chair Kim Heitman. 
"Politicians generally are only too happy to leave this controversial
issue to Defence Department bureaucrats.  At a time when governments
are preaching the benefits of electronic commerce, it is incredible
that security tools should be restricted.  Parliament needs to be
made aware of the importance of cryptography, and the negative
impact of current policy."


      Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc  --
      representing Internet users concerned with on-line freedoms
      Media Contacts

      Greg Taylor                 Kim Heitman         
      Phone: 07 3370 6362         Phone: 08 9458 2790


What is the Wassenaar Arrangement?

This is a 1995 international regime to control trade
in conventional arms and dual-use goods and technology. It
replaced the previous COCOM regime. 33 countries are signatories,
including most European countries, Canada, Japan, New Zealand,
the USA and Australia.  Details:

The new Wassneaar Control Lists
HTML version:


Global Internet Liberty Campaign, member resolution on Wassenaar
control regime.

International Cryptography Campaign

Draft Declaration of Human Rights in Cyberspace

Being economical for the truth.  From internal briefings to remote links,
Amnesty International needs secure systems.
Network Week 9/12/98

Is Strong Crypto a Human Right?
Wired News

Building crypto archives worldwide to foil US-built Berlin Walls

US 'Echelon' Spy Network Monitoring Email, Fax, Cell Phones Worldwide

Cryptography and Liberty. An International Survey of Encryption Policy.
Global Internet Liberty Campaign, 1998.

Review of policy relating to encryption technologies (Walsh Review).
Australian Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department 1996.

Cryptography's Role in Securing the Information Society. National Research
Council, USA, 1996.