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ensuring such security.1 Thus, differing national policies on cryptography that lead to difficulties in international communications work against overall national policies that are aimed at opening markets and reducing commercial and trade barriers.

Related is the fact that U.S. companies, including the high-technology companies that manufacture information technology products with worldwide acceptance and popularity, face the potential of significant foreign competition, as discussed in Chapter 4. To the extent that these companies constitute major U.S. national assets, policy actions that affect their international competitiveness must be considered very carefully.

A final international dimension is that other nations also have the option to maintain some form of export controls on cryptography, as well as controls on the import and use of cryptography. Such controls form part of the context in which U.S. cryptography policy must be formulated.


Despite the international scope of cryptography policy, the international scene is dominated by national governments. All national governments have certain basic goals in common:

• To maintain national sovereignty,

• To protect public safety and domestic order,

• To look after their nation's economic interests, and

• To advance their national interests internationally.

These common goals translate into policy and interests that are sometimes similar and sometimes different between nations. Perhaps the most important point of similarity is that national governments are likely to take actions to mitigate the threat that the use of cryptography may pose to their ability to achieve the goals listed above.2 A corollary is that foreign national governments are likely to resist unilateral U.S. decisions

1 In the international arena, as elsewhere, not all aspects of cryptography are necessarily equally critical to all problems of security. For example, to some extent, the security of international electronic payments and other financial transactions can be enhanced through collateral (nonconfidentiality) uses of cryptography, as discussed in Chapter 2.

2 Experience in other Internet-related matters suggests that many governments are willing to wield their influence in areas that they believe affect the public safety and welfare. For example:

• The CompuServe on-line service suspended access worldwide to approximately 200 Internet "newsgroups" at the request of the German government. These newsgroups were

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