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Security: Internet

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Can I Use Cryptographic Software?

Related Links

1.
Table of Countries
2.
Selected Links
Computer Security Primer-The Internet

Can I Use
Cryptographic
Privacy Software?

Introduction

Cryptographic policies vary from country to country. Even though strong cryptography in this networked age is the only protection that the individual or firm has for their privacy, and in some cases, economic well being, various countries don't seem to agree.

There is a popular myth in some quarters of government in some countries that the proverbial cat can be put back in the proverbial bag. This is largely propaganda to help promote popular acceptance of the theory that much easily-broken cryptography is better to sift through for intelligence and law enforcement agencies, if any cryptography is to be used. Most people who understand the technology realize that commerce mandates the use of cryptography - for authentication - for privacy - but there are varying opinions on just which technologies should be available to whom.

The biggest problem with that concept is that when weak cryptography is used, it is weak to all who would wish to circumvent it. When back doors are installed in software, who is to know who will find the key to those back doors and enter and exit freely. This is all the more a question when the doors are made invisible to the owner of that software or hardware and others who trustingly and blindly use it.

Within individual countries, some political subdivisions also have cryptographic policies. This ranges from support and optional registration of public keys to the strict controls, or requirement that only state supplied (and presumably state installed back door) technologies may be used.

So, do you use such technologies yourself? Or trust your ISP, however good, or background technologies to do the job? That depends entirely on what you're protecting, and whether or not those transparent technologies can be trusted. It doesn't matter how strong the technology, when unexpected parties have access to the data anywhere between its origin, and its intended use.





Cryptography Around the World


Links to the GLIC Survey

Anguilla
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Bahrain
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Campione d'Italia
Canada
China
Council of Europe
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
European Union
Falkland Islands
Finland
France
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Korea, Republic of
Kuwait
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Mexico
Mount Athos, Republic of
Nauru
Netherlands
Netherlands Antilles
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Norfolk Island
Norway
Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development
(OECD)

Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Tibet
Turkey
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United States
This does not pretend to be a legal advisor. The colors were assigned by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in their survey commissioned for the Global Internet Liberty Campaign .



Green No restrictions, or liberal allowance.
Yellow Government moves to restrict privacy measures.
Red Import/Export or Use restrictions
Gray Unknown / No Response, and no good way to guess

The above categories should not be taken as a current legal opinion in any of the countries named. Follow the link on the name above to find the EPIC/GLIC report for that country, but better yet, check on your own government, and send in updates if anything shown here or in the original report is found to be inaccurate.

Links


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This story Copyright © Bruce Gingery. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998 Dr. Raj Mehta. All rights reserved.