The "Diverse World" group

  • Molly Emmons
  • Jesse Hutton
  • Aliki Nicolaides
  • Clarice Santiago
  • Gaurav Kalro

    What to prepare for You have a difficult task. Your group should present a selection of the more restrictive policies outside of the U.S. regarding cryptography. Summaries of the crypto policies of many countries are available on the web. More specifically, imagine you are preparing a position paper (3 pages long) for the International Telecommunications Union. You may defend your policies regarding cryptography with a mixture of convenient logic, exaggeration, and history. Mention specific policies and give some comments to support these policies. For example, your comments could include (but not be limited by) reasons such as the following:

    In your oral rebuttal Be prepared to defend "your" country's positions. One classic style: throw accusations at the accusers. Remark that those who accuse you of controlling communications already have secure communications of their own, and are just trying to prevent others from enjoying similar security. Have a few facts which you cite in a very emotional manner.

    Here are some notes from the website referenced previously. The quotes indicated are all from there.

    Austria "The Betriebsfunkverordnung forbids encryption in internal company and organisation radio transmissions."
    (Peoples's Republic of) China "China restricts the importation and exportation of voice-encoding devices."
    France and Germany The descriptions and histories of the relevant policies in these countries are long and elaborate and frequently describe policies which are not very permissive. You may want to think about how the representatives of these countries would defend their actions and assertions.
    Hong Kong (now called the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) "A license is required for importing or exporting cryptography, except for access-control equipment and authentication cryptography that can not be used for encrypting files or text."
    Italy "There is a law that demands accessibility of encrypted records for the treasury."
    Malaysia "According to Malaysia's 1997 Digital Signature Bill, when conducting a search with a licensed Certification Authority, the police can command the CA to give access to computerised data whether stored in a computer or otherwise, including being provided with the necessary password or decryption code (i.e., if the CA uses encryption, it should decrypt)."
    New Zealand "Approval is also required for software that does not itself contain cryptography, but which has an interface specially designed for plugging in cryptography. What is more, MFAT seems to interpret the regulations very strictly, even to the extent that publishing cryptography in books or academic journals requires permission."
    Pakistan "2. Domestic laws and regulations The Pakistan Telecommunication (Reorganization) Act empowers the government to regulate cryptography. The sale and use of encryption hardware and software require approval by the PTA (Pakistan Telecommunications Authority?)."
    Phillipines "Import of cryptography is regulated as well, through a 1993 law; a general authorization or import certificate is required to buy encryption products abroad. The end-user must detail the kind of information to be encrypted and where the cryptography is to be installed.
    Russia"A license is required for the importation of encryption facilities manufactured abroad. The export of cryptography is subjected to a tightened state control. ... On 3 April 1995, president Yeltsin issued a decree prohibiting unauthorized encryption. State organizations and enterprises need a license to use encryption (for both authentication and secrecy, for storage as well as transmission)."
    Singapore" ... subscribers have to obtain prior approval from the Telecommunications Authority of Singapore (TAS) to send encrypted messages across the Singapore Telecommunications lines."
    South Korea "The import of encryption devices is prohibited, even for banks."
    Vietnam "Import of encryption technology for protection of confidential data requires a license from the Ministry of Trade."

    In some sense, this group's "charge" was the most ill-defined, because I indicated via e-mail that I really wanted some presentation which would try to contrast the policies and background of a non-U.S. country with those of the U.S. The students succeeded brilliantly, deciding to present a memo about Russia. The written report from the group follows.

    Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. We are the Diverse World Group and will be presenting Russia's policy on Cryptology. The Federation of Russia is determined on intensifying the fight against organized crime and internal disorder. Today, we would like to present our position.

    Looking at Russia's policy from an American standpoint may give off the false impression that its policies are restrictive and over regulated, but today we will justify Russia's policies and we will show that they are not just arbitrary attempts at controlling the public.

    We will begin with a brief explanation of Russia's history: Russia, a vast Eurasian expanse of field, forest, desert, and tundra, has endured many "times of trouble"-the Mongol rule of the 13th to 15th century; czarist reigns of terror; massive invasions by Swedes, French, and Germans; and the deadly communist period (1917-91) in which Russia dominated an immense Soviet Union. General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, in charge during 1985-91, introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize communism, but also inadvertently released forces that shattered the USSR into 15 independent republics in December 1991. Russia has struggled in its efforts to build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the strict social, political, and economic controls of the communist period. These reform efforts have resulted in contradictory and confusing economic and political regulations and practices. (CIA 1)

    Industry, agriculture, the military, the central government, and the ruble have suffered, and this has lead to a questioning and mistrust of the new idealistic form of democratic government. The Soviet Union was one of the world great powers when their government was of a more restrictive form. They prospered and were accustomed to less freedom for the good of the whole.

    For these reasons, Russia's policy of cryptology may seem restrictive but is the best way to ensure the nation's security and the people's faith in the government.

    The following are the policies decreed by Boris Yeltsin, president of the Russian Federation, on April 3, 1995:

    1. The creation of a presidential program for development of telecommunications and information systems "in the interests of the organs of state authority."
    2. The prohibition within the telecommunications and information systems of both government and civil organizations and enterprises of the use of encryption devices which are not certified and licensed by the FAPSI (The Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information).
    3. The proposition that the Central Bank take significant and complete measures with regard to their dealings with commercial banks of the Russian Federation which avoid FAPSI certification in technical methods for securing storage, treatment and transmission of information. We must not allow any possibility of weak links in commercial banking administration to corrupt our central banking system.
    4. The prohibition of legal and physical persons from designing, manufacturing, selling and using information media, and also secure means of storing, treating and transmitting information and rendering services in the area of information encoding without a license from FAPSI in accordance with the Russian Federation law "concerning the Federal Organs of Government Communications and Information."
    5. That the state customs commission of the Russian Federation take measures to bar entry into Russian Federation territory encoding devices of foreign manufacture without licensing by the MVES (Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations) issued in cooperation with FAPSI.
    6. And all stipulations regarding the designation of resources to insure continuation and enhancement of lawful implementation and enforcement of the regulations stated herein.

    Ladies and Gentleman, for those of you that may find these regulations strict in comparison to Western standards we would attempt to appeal to you about the differences between Russia and Western Europe. Our culture is not ready for the freedoms and responsibilities experienced in western countries and the transition to democracy must be gradual and safe. As you all well know, Russia is in the midst of a turbulent transition to a market economy, and there have been many treacherous pitfalls and obstacles along the way to a free market. The Russian economy has been through its worst period in recent history after what westerners claim as "the fall of Communism." There are some that are prospering greatly from the privatization of industry and commerce. Foreign investors find attractive opportunities in our region. Yet, this inflow of foreign capital investment has resulted in great corruption in bureaucratic and administrative aspects of our developing system, with terrible effects on the environment and the people. While some become fabulously rich, the people of Russia have not been worse of in recent memory. Indeed, some make fabulous fortunes, but the majority is suffering from the lack of proper state support.

    Strong and powerful countries, such as the United States, have the ability to have less inhibiting legislation on Cryptology. There are no import restrictions in America. They do not have great fear of any danger because America already has very secure systems domestically. Being a world power, the United States is up to date with cutting-edge research and implementation making the import of cryptography technology a minor threat. For a less technologically advanced country such as Russia, the import of more advanced devices of cryptology could be damaging to national security. The United States also has a lenient export policy only for data-recovery cryptography. This allows Americans to take highly advanced equipment out of the country, retrieve data from other less advanced countries, and use that information for their own purposes. Russia requires a restrictive import policy to prevent such occurrences.

    Another aspect of the unique situation the Russian Federation finds itself in regards the illegal dispersal of nuclear and other arms. Unfortunately, there are those elements within the Russian Federation and military that choose to sell the knowledge pertaining to advanced nuclear and other weapons systems, and even the hardware itself where the breakdown of security has allowed those things to flow to private hands. These things inevitably end up in the hands of the highest bidder in the black market, often terrorists.

    I expect we can depend on the international community's support in administering all available methods and resources to contain these elements. The people of Russia will have to allow for these restrictions with regard to the encoding of telecommunication and information systems. Our central government must be able to act strongly and effectively for the benefit of the people; a better future for our country depends on it.

    Maintained by and last modified 10/21/99.