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Gore Letter to Daschle on Encryption (3/4/98)


March 4, 1998

The Honorable Tom Daschle
Democratic Leader
United States Senate
Washington DC 20510

Dear Tom:

I want to express my appreciation for your efforts on the vital issue of encryption. I share your conviction that resolving the issues surrounding encryption policy is a critical priority for the United States, and that we must work together to find common ground. The Administration continues to believe in a balanced approach -- promoting the growth of secure electronic commerce, protecting the public safety and national security, and enabling the continued technology leadership by U.S. industry. No sound policy can ignore any of these goals. The challenge is to find approaches that support all of them.

Considerable, encouraging progress has been made over the past year and a half by relying on industry-led, market based solutions, particularly in the area of key recovery encryption for stored data. The Administration wants to build on this progress by energizing an intensive discussion that will apply the unparalleled expertise of U.S. industry leaders in developing innovative solutions that support our national goals. In particular, the Administration remains committed to finding ways to preserve the ability of the Nation's law enforcement community to access, under strictly defined legal procedures, the plain text of criminally related communications and stored information.

The Administration is not wedded to any single technology solution. The Administration believes the best approach is to pursue a good faith dialogue over the coming months between industry and law enforcement, which can produce cooperative solutions, rather than seeking to legislate domestic controls. These and other discussions with industry can also enable the Administration to take additional steps to relax export controls on encryption products.

I welcome your support in helping to create an environment conducive to a productive dialogue between government and industry.



Al Gore

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