Feeds

Crypto regs still tricky

Stealth export rules keep lawyers busy

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Over a year after the US government first announced the liberalization of encryption export rules, a tangle of vestigial regulations might still trip up unwary developers, experts say.

"Never work under the belief that encryption is not controlled," said Susan Kotila, project manager with Apple's export license department. "I've run into a lot of developers where I've had to tell them, I've got the name of a good lawyer, but you're in violation right now."

The last eighteen months of the Clinton administration heralded a series of significant reforms in the export restrictions that had kept strong security and privacy technology out of commercial products for years. But some regulation remains, and developers who include unbreakable encryption in a product that's sold overseas or online still need to jump through bureaucratic hoops to avoid running afoul of the law, said Kotila.

"Developers, be aware that you do need to go through one-time government review on your crypto before you export it," said Kotila, who delivered an impromptu lecture on the topic Tuesday at the 2001 Mac Crypto Conference held at Apple's Cupertino, California campus.

Apple's John Hurley blamed the regulations for keeping support for plug-in Cryptographic Service Providers (CSPs) out of Mac OSX, a feature that would have permitted independent developers to create their own replacements for the operating system's built-in encryption. "We do want people to be able to write CSPs," said Hurley. "But we're stuck by export laws."

Strong crypto is generally exportable, but in many cases companies are still required to submit a copy of new software to the US government for a thirty day review. Open source code has fewer restrictions, except when part of a commercial product.

Cindy Cohn, legal direct of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), agrees that reports of the death of crypto regulations are greatly exaggerated.

"The government came out and said they were giving up, but when you read the fine print, they didn't give up entirely," says Cohn, who represented mathematician Daniel Bernstein in his successful First Amendment challenge to the old crypto regulations. "They took something complex and made it even more complex. They've got caveats for every little thing."

Details on the rules and various exemptions may be found on the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Export Administration Web site.

© 2001 SecurityFocus.com. All rights reserved.

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.