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IAB and IESG Statement on Cryptographic Technology and the Internet (RFC1984)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000004263D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-13
Document File: 7 page(s) / 10K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

IAB & IESG: AUTHOR

Abstract

Status of This Memo

This text was extracted from a ASCII Text document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 30% of the total text.

Network Working Group IAB

Request for Comments: 1984 IESG

Category: Informational August 1996

IAB and IESG Statement on Cryptographic Technology and the Internet

Status of This Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo

does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of

this memo is unlimited.

Copyright

(C) Internet Society 1996. Reproduction or translation of the

complete document, but not of extracts, including this notice, is

freely permitted.

July 24, 1996

The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering

Steering Group (IESG), the bodies which oversee architecture and

standards for the Internet, are concerned by the need for increased

protection of international commercial transactions on the Internet,

and by the need to offer all Internet users an adequate degree of

privacy.

Security mechanisms being developed in the Internet Engineering Task

Force to meet these needs require and depend on the international use

of adequate cryptographic technology. Ready access to such

technology is therefore a key factor in the future growth of the

Internet as a motor for international commerce and communication.

The IAB and IESG are therefore disturbed to note that various

governments have actual or proposed policies on access to

cryptographic technology that either:

(a) impose restrictions by implementing export controls; and/or

(b) restrict commercial and private users to weak and inadequate

mechanisms such as short cryptographic keys; and/or

(c) mandate that private decryption keys should be in the hands of

the government or of some other third party; and/or

(d) prohibit the use of cryptology entirely, or permit it only to

specially authorized organizations.

We believe that such policies are against the interests of consumers

and the business community, are largely irrelevant to issues of

military security, and provide only a marginal or illusory benefit to

law enforcement agencies, as discussed below.

The IAB and IESG would like to encourage policies that allow ready

access to uniform strong cryptographic technology for all Internet

users in all countries.

The IAB and IESG claim:

The Internet is becoming the predominant vehicle for electronic

commerce and information exchange. It is essential that the support

structure for these activities can be trusted.

Encryption is not a secret technology monopolized by any one country,

such that export controls can hope to contain its deployment. Any

hobbyist can program a PC to do powerful encryption. Many algorithms

are well documented, some with source code available in textbooks.

Export controls on encryption place companies in that country at a

competitive disadvantage. Their competitors from countries without

export restrict...