Groups laud German crypto policy


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 unauthorized parties.

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 the government.

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.

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