The Great Encryption Debate

Congress is getting nowhere in the battle to control the technology

For years, the battle over data encryption--the technology used to keep computerized information confidential--was an arcane fight over export controls. National Security Agency spooks wanted tight controls to keep software capable of cloaking information with an unbreakable code out of the hands of terrorists. U.S. industry protested that such restrictions would cut off billions in sales and curtail the growth of electronic commerce--without doing much to boost national security.

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