Senator Lott - Crypto Angel (fwd)

Justin Dolske (
Wed, 9 Jul 1997 10:56:00 -0400 (EDT)

Uh-oh. Sounds like the Senate knows about us, the NSA can't be that far
behind. ;-)

Justin Dolske <URL:>
Graduate Fellow / Research Associate at The Ohio State University, CIS Dept.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 09 Jul 1997 10:51:04 GMT
From: SOFTWAR <>
Newsgroups: talk.politics.crypto,,,, alt.politics.clinton, alt.politics.datahighway,
alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater, talk.politics.misc
Subject: Senator Lott - Crypto Angel

You can find this statement by Sen. Trent Lott at

ENCRYPTION POLICY REFORM (Senate - June 27, 1997)

[Page: S6724]

Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I rise today to thank the junior Senator from
Montana for his leadership on the important issue. Senator Burns has
led a valiant effort to address an area that I believe is in
great need of reform. He has championed the cause of allowing citizens
to protect their information through readily available strong
information security technology. In the 104th Congress, he
introduced legislation that set the stage for our reform efforts in
this Congress. Again, last week, Senator Burns offered a compromise
version of his original bill before the Commerce Committee,
but unfortunately this measure did not pass. I hope that now we can go
through a process to bring all parties together, industry and
Government, to try to relieve some of the problems created by current
law. We did not accomplish everything that I wanted in Committee, but
I am confident that there is still time to improve this legislation. I
want to congratulate Senator Burns and others on the committee like
Senator Ashcroft and Senator Dorgan who have taken the time to
understand the technology and to attempt to effectively guide us
through these difficult issues.

Mr. President, the demand for strong information security will not
abate. Individuals, industry, and governments need the best
information security technology to protect their information. The
Administration's policy and the McCain-Kerrey bill allow export of
56-bit encryption , with key recovery requirements. How secure is
56-bit encryption ? That question was answered the day
before the Senate Commerce Committee acted. Responding to a challenge,
a secret message encoded with 56-bit encryption was decoded in a brute
force supercomputing effort known as the `Deschall Effort.' The
message that was decoded said `Strong cryptography makes the world a
safer place.'

Now that 56-bit encryption has been cracked by individuals working
together over the Internet, information protected by that technology
is vulnerable. The need to allow stronger security to protect
information is more acute than ever.

Mr. BURNS. Mr. President, I appreciate the comments of the majority
leader. I too was opposed to the legislation approved by the committee
last week, but know that we still have the opportunity to pass a
meaningful bill that will allow American industry to compete with the
rest of the world in the global information marketplace. I believe
that we can pass a bill that will not compromise our national security
or law enforcement interests. As I sat through the markup last week,
it occurred to me that we had allowed the issue of encryption to be
framed as the issue of child pornography or gambling. I want to be
sure that all parties understand that the reform of encryption
security standards is not related to these issues.

I have often said that encryption is simply like putting a stamp on an
envelope rather than sending a postcard because you don't want others
to read your mail. Encryption is simply about people protecting their
private information, about companies and governments protecting their
information, from medical records to tax returns to intellectual
property from unauthorized access. Hackers, espionage agents, and
those just wanting to cause mischief must be restrained from access to
private information over the Internet.

When used correctly, encryption can enable citizens in remote
locations to have access to the same information, the same technology,
the same quality of health care, that citizens of our largest cities
have. Perhaps most importantly, it is about ensuring that American
companies have the tools they need to continue to develop and provide
the leading technology in the global marketplace. Without
this leadership, our national security and sovereignty will surely be

1 if by land, 2 if by sea. Paul Revere - encryption 1775

Charles R. Smith

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