Symposium: A Perspective on Privacy, Information Technology, and the Internet

Cryptography and Liberty: An International Survey of Encryption Policy

Byline:

Wayne Madsen, David L. Sobel, Marc Rotenberg & David Banisar

Issue:

VOL. XVI • Spring 1998 • NO. 3 (table of contents)

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Cite as:

16 John Marshall J. of Comp. & Info. Law 475

Abstract:

The speedy progress of the "digital revolution" has significantly changed the manner in which individuals and other entities communicate and exchange information. Since traditional paper based media for communication is being replaced by high tech means, new security measures such as cryptographic security techniques are sought to ensure individual privacy. This is a drastic change because encryption technology was traditionally utilized by military and diplomatic communications.

Human rights activists, political dissidents and journalists employ encryption technology to protect communication from government surveillance. The Global Internet Liberty Campaign ("GILC") was organized to protect civil liberties and human rights in the on-line world. GILC monitors activities in regard to the free use of cryptography around the world.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center ("EPIC") conducted a survey on behalf of GILC. The purpose of the survey was to provide a comprehensive review of the cryptography policies of almost every national and territorial jurisdiction in the world. The result of the survey indicated that many countries throughout the globe do not have regulations on the use of cryptography. Cryptography is freely employed without any due restrictions. This holds true for both leading industrial countries and countries that have emerging markets. EIPC noted that recent trends in international law and policy favor greater relaxation in controls on cryptography. Responses from seventy-six countries are included in the comment.

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