The White House Briefing Room

September 16, 1999


                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                             September
16, 1999

                                FACT SHEET

              The Cyberspace Electronic Security Act of 1999

     Today, the President is transmitting to the Congress a legislative
proposal entitled the "Cyberspace Electronic Security Act of 1999" (CESA).
This legislation would protect the growing use of encryption for the
legitimate protection of privacy and confidentiality by businesses and
individuals, while helping law enforcement obtain evidence to investigate
and prosecute criminals despite their use of encryption to hide criminal

     Encryption is an important tool for protecting personal privacy and is
essential for the expansion of electronic commerce.  Yet, the advent and
eventual widespread use of encryption poses significant challenges to law
enforcement and public safety.  Under existing law, investigators have a
variety of legal tools to collect electronic evidence of illegal activity.
These tools are rendered useless when encryption is used to scramble
evidence so that law enforcement cannot decipher it in a timely manner, if
at all.  Timely action against terrorists, drug dealers, or kidnappers may
require rapid access to electronic information that must not be thwarted by

     CESA balances the needs of privacy and public safety.  It establishes
significant new protections for the privacy of persons who use encryption
legally.  The bill is technology neutral, and does not presuppose
technology solutions.  CESA also provides mechanisms to help maintain law
enforcement?s current ability to obtain useable evidence as encryption
becomes more common. More specifically, CESA would:

?    Ensure that law enforcement maintains its ability to access decryption
     information stored with third parties, while protecting such
     information from inappropriate release.  Law enforcement must inform a
     person whose key is obtained using court process, and must destroy the
     keys after their use is complete and when Federal records laws permit.
     Law enforcement may only use decryption keys obtained from a key
     recovery agent for an explicitly authorized purpose.  A key recovery
     agent may not disclose or use a decryption key, nor disclose the
     identity of a customer, except under explicit and limited
     circumstances.  Individuals remain completely free to use -- or not to
     use ? the services of a recovery agent.

?    Authorize $80 million over four years for the FBI?s Technical Support
     Center, which will serve as a centralized technical resource for
     Federal, State, and local law enforcement in responding to the
     increasing use of encryption by criminals.

?    Ensure that sensitive investigative techniques and industry trade
     secrets remain useful in current and future investigations by
     protecting them from unnecessary disclosure in litigation or criminal
     trials involving encryption.   Orders protecting such techniques and
     trade secrets must be consistent with fully protecting defendants?
     rights to a fair trial under the Constitution?s Due Process clause and
     the Sixth Amendment.  Protection of techniques requires a judicial
     finding in accordance with specified criteria.  Firms? competitive and
     liability positions are protected when lawfully assisting law
     enforcement through the sharing of trade secrets.

     In contrast to an early draft version of the bill, the
Administration?s legislation does not provide new authority for search
warrants for encryption keys without contemporaneous notice to the subject.
The bill also does not regulate the domestic development, use or sale of
encryption.  Americans will remain free to use any encryption system


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