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                     PRO-CODE BILL ANNOUNCED TODAY

                          February 27, 1997

      Please widely redistribute this document with this banner
                    intact until March 15, 1997
            From the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT),
              the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and
                 the Voters Telecommunication Watch (VTW)

        The Latest News
        What You Can Do Now
        Background On Pro-CODE
        What's At Stake
        For More Information / Supporting Organizations


Today, a bi-partisan group of seventeen United States Senators, led by
Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), introduced the "Promotion
of Commerce Online in the Digital Era (Pro-CODE) Act", a bill designed
to promote privacy and security on the Internet by relaxing government
controls on encryption technologies.

Encryption technologies are the locks and keys of the Information age
-- enabling individuals and businesses to protect sensitive information
as it is transmitted over the Internet. Pro-CODE aims to enable this by
removing some of the regulations that currently prevent Americans from
using this technology.

A short summary of the bill and background on the encryption policy
debate are attached below, along with information on what you can do to
help ensure that Congress takes action on this important issue.



   Members of Congress tend to hear from their constituents only when
   they do something constituents don't like.  Today however, several
   Senators have taken a stand on an issue of critical importance to
   Internet users.  It's crucial that we encourage them with phone
   calls of support.

   If you live in any of the states listed below, please take a moment
   to give these Senators a call.

   Allard (R-CO)     Ashcroft (R-MO)     Boxer (D-CA)     Brownback (R-KS)
   Burns (R-MT)      Craig (R-ID)        Dominici (R-NM)  Dorgan (D-ND)
   Faircloth (R-NC)  Grahms (R-MN)       Hutchison (R-TX) Inhoffe (R-OK)
   Kempthorne (R-ID) Leahy (D-VT)        Lott (R-MS)      Murray (D-WA)
   Nickles (R-OK)    Thomas (R-WY)       Wyden (D-OR)

   Please take a moment to give these Senators a call.

        You:Senator Mojo's office please!
        Sen:Hello, Senator Mojo's office!


SAY     I heard that the Senator introduced Pro-CODE to add more privacy on
THIS->  the Internet.  Please thank the Senator for me and I support efforts
        to fix antiquated encryption export laws.  I live in .
        Sen:Ok, thanks!


   If you were one of the thousands of people that have adopted their
   legislator at, you would have received a
   personalized letter telling you that your legislator announced his
   or her sponsorship of Pro-CODE today.

   These personalized letters contain all the phone numbers you need,
   and we'll send them to you any time your legislator takes any action
   that would have a significant impact on the net.

   The Adopt Your Legislator campaign is the most effective method of
   mobilizing grass-roots support available today.  Since late last
   year, VTW and CDT have been building a network of thousands of
   Internet users who are active and engaged in the fight for privacy
   and security on the Internet.

   By focusing our efforts on the constituents of specific legislators
   as well as on the net as a whole, we can ensure that members of
   Congress know that they have support within their district as well
   as throughout the Internet community.

   You can adopt your legislator at


The Promotion of Commerce Online in the Digital Era (Pro-CODE) Act is
similar to a bill introduced by Senators Burns (R-MT) and Leahy (D-VT)
last year (then S.1726).  Pro-CODE enjoyed broad bi-partisan support in
the Senate and was the subject of 3 hearings, including 2 which were
cybercast live on the Internet.

This year's Pro-CODE bill (no bill number yet available) is designed to
encourage the widespread availability of strong, easy-to-use encryption
technologies to protect privacy and security on the Internet.
Specifically, Pro-CODE would:

1. Encourage the widespread availability of strong privacy and security
   products by relaxing export controls on encryption technologies that
   are already available on the mass market or in the public domain.
   This would include popular programs like Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)
   and World Wide Web browsers like those made by Netscape and Microsoft.

   Current US encryption policy restricts export of encryption products
   with key-lengths of more than 40 bits.  A recent study by renowned
   cryptographers including Whit Diffie (one of the fathers of modern
   cryptography), Matt Blaze, and others concluded that 40 bits is
   "woefully inadequate" to protect personal and business communications.
   Over the last eighteen months, several examples of the weakness of
   40-bit encryption have been demonstrated by college students with
   spare personal computers.

2. Prohibit the federal government from imposing mandatory key-escrow or
   key-recovery encryption policies on the domestic market and limit the
   authority of the Secretary of Commerce to set standards for
   encryption products.

3. Require the Secretary of Commerce to allow the unrestricted export of
   other encryption technologies if products of similar strength are
   generally available outside the United States.

For more information on the Pro-CODE bill, background information on
efforts to pass encryption policy reform legislation last year, and
other materials please visit:

For more information, see the Encryption Policy Resource Page at


Encryption technologies are the locks and keys of the Information age
-- enabling individuals and businesses to protect sensitive information
as it is transmitted over the Internet. As more and more individuals
and businesses come online, the need for strong, reliable, easy-to-use
encryption technologies has become a critical issue to the health and
viability of the Net.

Current US encryption policy, which limits the strength of encryption
products US companies can sell abroad, also limits the availability of
strong, easy-to-use encryption technologies in the United States. US
hardware and software manufacturers who wish to sell their products on
the global market must either conform to US encryption export limits or
produce two separate versions of the same product, a costly and
complicated alternative.

The export controls, which the NSA and FBI argue help to keep strong
encryption out of the hands of foreign adversaries, are having the
opposite effect. Strong encryption is available abroad, but because of
the export limits and the confusion created by nearly four years of
debate over US encryption policy, strong, easy-to-use privacy and
security technologies are not widely available off the shelf or "on the
net" here in the US. Because of this policy problem, US companies are
now at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace.

All of us care about our national security, and no one wants to make it
any easier for criminals and terrorists to commit criminal acts. But we
must also recognize encryption technologies can also aid law
enforcement and protect national security by limiting the threat of
industrial espionage and foreign spying.

What's at stake in this debate is nothing less than the future of
privacy and the fate of the Internet as a secure and trusted medium for
commerce, education, and political discourse.


This alert was brought to you by the Center for Democracy and
Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Voters
Telecommunications Watch. 

There are many excellent resources online to get up to speed on the
crypto issue including the following WWW sites:


Please visit them often.    Press inquiries should be directed to:

 Jonah Seiger of CDT at or +1.202.637.9800
 Stanton McCandlish of EFF at or  +1.415.436.9333
 Shabbir J. Safdar of VTW at or +1.917.978.8430 (beeper).

End alert

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