Statements by German Business against Encryption Regulation, 1996

Translation and Commentary by Christopher Kuner

Translation copyright 1996 Christopher Kuner. Reproduction is permitted, provided that this translator's note, including the above copyright notice, is retained in its entirety.

Commentary: Contrary to the impression often given by US government spokesmen that sentiment in foreign countries favors key escrow, German business has taken a consistent position against mandatory "key escrow" and the regulation of cryptography. The following translations of statements released by major German companies and business organizations illustrate the opposition of German business to crypto regulation. The German branch of the ICC has also prepared a "Draft Working Paper on Crypto Policy", a translation of which is available on this site.

Statement by the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI)

October 15, 1996

Commentary: The following is part of a statement on the draft digital signature law issued by the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI), the main trade association of German industry. Only the paragraphs dealing with encryption are translated here.

"No prohibition of encryption

In addition, it is important for industry that no regulations on encryption be subsequently submitted. A later legal prohibition on encryption would not only stand in opposition to the purpose of the digital signature law, but would not correspond with the interest of business in protecting computerized data transmissions from third parties."

Statement by the Daimler-Benz Group

December 1, 1996

Commentary: A statement on the German draft "Multimedia Law" was released by Daimler-Benz, the largest industrial group in Europe, on December 1, 1996. The statement was signed by Dr. Alfred Büllesbach, the main data protection officer for the Daimler-Benz group, and Dr. Joachim Rieß. Only the paragraph dealing with cryptography regulation is translated here.

"Procedures for digital signatures are dependent on cryptographic procedures. Cryptographic procedures are becoming one of the basic technologies both for the protection of authenticity and integrity and for protection of the confidentiality of electronic documents in telecommunications. The use of such procedures should be possible on a worldwide basis without restriction. Legal, technical and political restrictions on the use of such procedures hinder the further development of such technologies and improvement in the security of telecommunications procedures. A restriction on the use of cryptographic procedures for reasons of domestic or foreign security is practically impossible, since such procedures have been published and are available. Regulation of the use of cryptographic procedures for the purpose of only permitting such procedures which allow decryption also for third parties is not suited for the effective control of possible criminal or subversive communication. The use of unapproved but secure procedures could practically not be controlled. On the other hand, those using approved procedures could not really depend on the confidentiality of communication...

© Christopher Kuner 2014