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Encryption rules threaten China Win2k launch

And heaps of other stuff from Western outfits too - funny that.

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Microsoft is facing more trouble in selling Windows 2000 in mainland China, because Chinese restrictions imposed last October forbid the use of foreign encryption products. Microsoft is due to roll out Win2k in China on 20 March, and in January announced that, er, "the Windows 2000 operating system will be the first platform with 128-bit encryption to be shipped internationally." Microsoft China is in talks with the government over the problem, and is still optimistic that it will be allowed to ship Win2k there. But Microsoft is by no means the only company that's going to fall foul of the rules, because they effectively block virtually any imported product containing encryption, and US trade negotiators aren't happy. Trade rep Charlene "Ballistic" Barshefsky was yesterday demanding that China abandon the rules, describing China's attempts to control the use of the Internet as futile. One can't help recalling how sensitive the US has historically been over encryption export, and the many efforts the Feds have made to introduce systems that will allow them to, er, control the use of the Internet and snoop on traffic. It's only been legal for US companies to export 128-bit encryption since 14 January, yet now the trade reps are demanding that overseas customers buy it. And then of course one also recalls how keen they were to get China into the World Trade Organisation. China's restrictions, which are the sort of stuff the US trade rottweilers regularly complain to the WTO about, were introduced just after China was let in. ® More sneering at Charlene: Crypto must be controlled - FBI director

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