Government Encryption Export Controls Are Relaxed

Government Encryption Export Controls Are Relaxed – Government Activity

In the face of several past court cases ruling that the government’s rules and regulations on export control were unconstitutional (see ‘Online Newsletter’ May 2000 p.4), the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) on October 19 has published an amendment liberalizing exports and re-exports of encryption products to the 15-member European Union (EU), as well as Australia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, and Switzerland.

The new regulations allow these products to be exported to those 23 countries immediately upon filing a commodity classification with BXA and without waiting for a full review and classification. They apply to products containing or which are preloaded with encryption, including personal computers (PCs), laptops, handheld devices, network appliances, and short-range wireless technologies. Requirements have also been reduced for foreign-based U.S. distributors including subsidiaries of U.S. companies and encryption source code may now be exported to non-government end users once a classification request is filed.

The text of the revised rules are available at:


Restrictions on exports to terrorist-supporting states, their nationals and other sanctioned entities are not changed by the new rules.

The changes were based on the long-term efforts of U.S. technology companies and others, including numerous legal cases – on security issues that will make both Internet email and e-commerce transactions more viable.

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