Dole Crypto Statement

Statement By Bob Dole
On Computer Security and Privacy

July 12, 1996

Following is a statement by Bob Dole on computer security and privacy:

"The Clinton Administration is trying to play catch up, and apparently now agrees with my longtime position about the need to relax outdated export controls on encryption in computer hardware and software products. Unfortunately, their statement does nothing except promise to consider changes sometime in the fall. Today's announcement is nothing but politics. The President wants to go to Silicon Valley the week after next and knows he is wrong on issue after issue affecting the economy there.

"I believe the Internet has the potential to improve the delivery of health care, spawn new educational opportunities, protect consumer privacy, stimulate a new era of electronic commerce, and enhance the ability of U.S. businesses both large and small to compete around the world. But the ability to ensure the security, integrity and confidentiality of the information that flows over this network of networks is a prerequisite to using it for these applications.

"Stronger encryption supports national security objectives. As the recent National Research Council report on cryptography states 'availability of encryption technologies will benefit law enforcement and national security. By making economic espionage against U.S. interests more difficult, cryptography supports law enforcement. By protecting elements of the civilian infrastructure such as banking and telecommunications against hostile governments and organized crime, cryptography safeguards national security.'

"The report also notes that the use of encryption is growing and widespread non-governmental use of cryptography in the United States and abroad is inevitable. I agree with the report's conclusions that 'The government should recognize this changing reality and help authorities to develop the new technical capabilities they will need to conduct investigations and surveillance in a world in which all information may be better protected.'

"We want to work with the law enforcement authorities and national security experts to determine ways to insure they have sufficient tools to combat crime and terrorism.

"President Clinton has championed a 'key escrow" scheme in which the use of strong encryption is only permitted if the 'key' or password is made available to the government, brings back memories of the Administration's failed bureaucratic, complicated, and unworkable health care plan.

"The Clinton Administration has been wrong on most issues affecting high-tech -- from securities litigation reform, to capital gains relief, to balanced budgets, to research and development. On the information highway, it is once again, 'All talk, no action.'"