December 05, 2000, 11:53 AM — MUNICH -- Privacy experts and IT industry participants are lauding the German
government's recent stand on cryptography, which would leave unrestricted the
technologies that enable electronic transmissions to be sent securely via the Internet
or other networks.
The German government last week came out strongly in favor of placing no
restrictions on encryption, the technology which scrambles data so it can't be read by
The move comes after intensive lobbying of the government by those in favor of
strong encryption, and appears to confirm the signs that the German government plans to
put the interests of user privacy ahead of the desire to control criminal activities.
"This is good news. We invested a lot of work in this," said Werner Koch, software
developer and member of a German Unix users group, who was involved in efforts to lobby
Following a government cabinet meeting last Wednesday, Germany's Federal Ministry
for Economics and Information issued a statement which it called its "cornerstones of
cryptography policy." The German government, it said, will continue not to restrict
the "development, manufacture and use" of encryption technologies.