TIS gets OK to export stronger encryption

Maryland Watch

March 05, 1997

Trusted Information Systems Inc. said yesterday that the U.S. government has agreed to allow the export of stronger encryption software than ever before, as long as the encryption is packaged with the company's technology to recover encrypted files in an emergency.

Since 1993, the federal government has refused to allow export of most strong encryption products, fearing terrorists or international criminals might abuse encryption to communicate worldwide without fear of law enforcement.

Citing that fear, U.S. officials until recently allowed export only of relatively simple encryption systems using short algorithmic "keys" that critics believed could be deciphered too easily. With TIS' key-recovery systems, however, private "key recovery agents" hold keys that can help descramble the codes if requested by government officials with warrants or corporate owners of company computer files who can prove they are entitled to see the encrypted information.

The Glenwood company said it is seeking approval to export even stronger systems with longer and more complicated algorithmic keys.

Pub Date: 3/05/97

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