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House Legislation: SAFE (HR 850)
Senate Legislation: PROTECT (S. 798)
Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced the Security and Freedom through Encryption Act (SAFE) on February 25, 1999. SAFE promotes privacy in a number of ways. First, the bill allows the sale of any strength encryption domestically and allows American citizens to use any type of encyrption anywhere in the world. Under the bill, the government is not able to demand a backdoor around encryption be incorporated into email and other files. Third, SAFE permits the export of software and hardware if the product in question both is generally available and has a comparable match commericially available outside of the United States. Fourth, SAFE mandates penalties for the use of encryption in knowing concealment of a crime; however, it specifies that the use of encryption is not probable cause of a crime. Fifth, it requires the Attorney General to evaluate the relationship between intereference with law enforcement and encryption. Finally, it asks for an international conference, arranged by the President, to draft an agreement on encryption policies.
Senate Legislation: E-RIGHTS Act
Introduced on April 14, 1999 by Senator Abraham (R-MI), Senator Burns (R-MT), Senator Kerry (D-MA), Senator Leahy (D-VT), Senator McCain (R-AZ), and Senator Wyden (D-OR), the "Promote Reliable Online Transactions to Encourage Commerce and Trade (PROTECT) Act of 1999" is intended to promote the free trade and usage of encryption both inside and outside the United States. It immediately allows the export of 64-bit encryption products; recently, a group of researchers cracked a 56-bit message, the current export ceiling, in 22 hours. PROTECT requires that NIST finish their work on the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), a 128-bit global standard, for export by 2002. The bill contains no criminal provisions, in contrast to the SAFE Act. Under PROTECT, "legitimate and responsible entities" qualify to receive strong encryption product exports beyond those available to other foreign entities. The Act provides for the export of "generally available" products of over 64-bit encryption through license exemptions granted by the Secretary of Commerce. Finally, it completely prohibits all government agencies from passing laws, providing incentives, or setting standards requiring private key recovery or the like.
Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced the "Electronic Rights for the 21st Century Act" on April 21, 1999. The bill increases privacy measures to reduce the amount of caller location data generated by cellular telephones. It also increases the privacy of individuals when registering Internet domain names. A large part of the act deals with limiting government monitoring and access to plaintext recovery methods by tightening controls on roving wiretaps, emphasizing the right to domestic use of strong encryption, and prohibiting mandatory key escrow or recovery. It sets standards for the access of law enforcement agencies to plaintext data and decryption assitance and requires a court order before disclosure of decryption assistance to foreign governments. E-RIGHTS allows for protection of privacy in library and book sale records and in home satellite data transmissions. It also strengthens the requirements necessary for a pen register or trap and trace court order.