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Proposed law won’t slow encryption use, some experts say

Proposed legislation that would add a significant stretch of prison time for people who use cryptography in the commission of a crime could have a chilling effect on the technology, some privacy advocates fear. But officials of RSA Security Inc. of Bedford, Mass., say it already is too late to slow down the use of strong encryption for digital communication—the genie is out of the bottle. “I don’t know how you could go back,” said Brett Michaels, director of RSA’s government sales. Encryption is too tightly integrated with too many applications essential for e-government and e-commerce to eliminate or restrict, he said. Draft legislation for Patriot II, a follow-on to the USA Patriot Act reportedly under consideration in the Justice Department, has been discussed at a number of recent IT and security conferences, including this week’s RSA Security Conference here. The bill would call for increased prison time for people convicted of a felony if they knowingly used cryptography in committing the crime. It could add up to five years for a first offense and up to 10 years for subsequent crimes. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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