Nov. 6, 1995 Contact: Anne Enright Shepherd (301) 975-4858   MEDIA ADVISORY U.S. GOVERNMENT SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT ON DRAFT EXPORT CRITERIA FOR KEY ESCROW ENCRYPTION   Revised proposed export criteria for software encryption products using a key escrow mechanism are now available for public review. Public comment will be solicited at a Dec. 5 meeting to be held at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.   Key escrow encryption is part of the Clinton Administration's initiative to promote the use of strong techniques to protect the privacy of data and voice transmissions by companies, government agencies and others without compromising the government's ability to carry out lawful electronic surveillance and to execute search warrants for electronically stored communications. The exportability criteria being proposed are for an expedited licensing review process for software key escrow encryption products with keys up to 64 bits long.   The U.S. Interagency Working Group on Encryption and Telecommunications, a body that develops recommendations on Administration encryption policies, solicits additional public comment on the revised criteria.   Since the Clinton Administration's Aug. 17, 1995, announcement of proposed liberalization of export control procedures for key escrow software products with key lengths up to 64 bits, the working group has met with representatives of computer hardware and software manufacturers, industry trade associations and others interested in providing strong security for electronic data and transmissions. Based on comments received to date from industry, the criteria have been revised to better reflect commercial interests while balancing the needs of law enforcement and national security.   These criteria do not replace or supersede any other licensing processes or criteria. Export applications for other types of products will use the existing licensing process.   The Dec. 5 meeting, to be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at NIST in Gaithersburg, Md., is free and open to the public. Representatives from the interagency encryption working group will discuss the draft criteria and answer related questions.   Those interested in attending the workshop can register before Nov. 30 by sending their name, organization, postal address, phone, fax number and e-mail address to Elaine Frye of NIST by fax: (301) 948-1784 or e-mail: For additional information, call (301) 975-2819.   Once public comments are received and the export criteria are given any necessary clarifications, the Department of State is expected to issue guidance incorporating the criteria in early 1996. Products will be reviewed by the State Department to verify that they satisfy the final criteria. Products meeting the criteria will be transferred to the Commodity Control List administered by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Export Administration, where they can be exported under a general license.   The revised proposed export criteria are available on the World Wide Web at Reporters may also request a copy from Anne Enright Shepherd at NIST, (301) 975-2762, fax: (301) 926-1630, or e-mail:  

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