Senator Burns Says Encryption Bill May Be Considered by Full Senate this Session
(June 17, 1998) Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) announced Tuesday that legislation to "loosen restrictions on encrypted software" may come before the full Senate this year. Encryption legislation has stalled under opposition from FBI Director Louis Freeh.
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) is one of the leading proponents of strong encryption legislation in the Senate. He is the lead sponsor of the Pro Commerce Online in the Digital Era Act, also know as "ProCODE" and S. 377.
Sen. Burns met with Microsoft CEO Bill Gates on June 9 to discuss encryption policy. "We discussed the need for a more realistic encryption policy," said Burns in a statement released after the meeting. "Currently, the administration will not allow U.S. companies to export software that contains high-end encryption without leaving a key to the software with a third party."
On Tuesday, June 16, Sen. Burns, Sen. Trent Lott (R- MS), Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO), Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) all joined in a colloquy supporting encryption legislation.
Sen. Lott is the Senate Majority Leader. "Continuing to restrict the foreign sale of American encryption technology that is already available abroad, or will soon be available, is anti-business, anti-consumer, anti-jobs, and anti-motivation," Lott said. "The time for change in America's export regime is long overdue."
"If the Administration will not do what is right, reform its export regime, then
Congress must enact encryption reform during this session."
|Industry Leaders Meet with Justice Officials, 6/10/98.|
|Industry Leaders to Meet With Freeh on Encryption, 6/2/98.|
|Compromise Encryption Bill Introduced in Senate, 5/14/98.|
|Freeh Warns of Encryption Use, 4/23/98.|
|Secretary Daley Condemns Encryption Policy, 4/16/98.|
|Democrats Write Clinton on Encryption, 4/6/98.|
|Senate Holds Hearing on Encryption, 3/17/98.|
|ACP Brings Together Strange Bedfellows, 3/16/98.|
|Americans for Computer Privacy Organizes, 3/4/98.|
Encryption Legislation Re-Energized
Lott May Intend That Senate Discuss Encryption Bill This Session
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Montana Senator Conrad Burns today announced that legislation to loosen restrictions on encrypted software may come before the full Senate before the close of the 105th Congress. Burns and six Senate colleagues, including Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), joined in a colloquy today supporting the passage of encryption legislation this session if U.S. policy remains unchanged.
"Current U.S. encryption policy jeopardizes the privacy of individuals, the security of the Internet, and the competitiveness of U.S. industry," Burns said. "We have been debating this issue since the administration's introduction of the ill-fated Clipper chip proposal over five years ago, but no substantial change in administration policy has taken place. It is time for us to take action.
"Law enforcement has legitimate concerns about the spread of this technology, and we must work to provide them the tools and expertise they need to keep up with advances in encryption technology. We cannot stop time, however. The genie is out of the bottle. As Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft, recently said, 'Encryption technology is widely available outside the United States and inside the United States, and that's just a fact of life.'
"The fact is that we are making fundamental decisions about what kind of privacy Americans will have in the years to come. We need to choose a future where individuals and companies will have the tools they need to protect their privacy, not a future where people fear to use electronic commerce because they have no security."
"Continuing to restrict the foreign sale of American encryption technology that is already available abroad, or will soon be available, is anti-business, anti-consumer, anti-jobs, and anti-motivation," Lott said. "The time for change in America's export regime is long overdue.
"If the Administration will not do what is right, reform its export regime, then Congress must enact encryption reform during this session."
Burns, Lott, John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) all joined in the colloquy supporting encryption legislation today.