EFA Crypto Campaign
Last update: 30th January 1999
On 1st July 1998, EFA commenced a campaign aimed at ending current controls
over the export of cryptography products and ensuring that no domestic
controls over the use of cryptography are introduced.
The major issues involved in the crypto control controversy in Australia are:
- the current export controls are a failure because strong cryptography
software is already widely available throughout the world.
- Australia is one of the few countries in the world that refuses to
apply the Wassenaar Arrangement General Software Note waiver
to the export of mass market and public domain crypto software.
- the current regulations impose unnecessary constraints and costs on business
while doing little to achieve their aim of restricting availability
of cryptographic software.
- the key escrow and key recovery technology currently encouraged
as unofficial policy is fundamentably unworkable and a risk to data
- no objective case for the benefits of imposing such controls has been
- current regulations are stifling Australian initiatives in developing
secure communications protocols.
- the restrictions on deployment of strong cryptography increase the
risk of criminal or terrorist attack on vital infrastructure such
as banking, electricity supply etc.
Objectives of the campaign are to:
- bring the crypto debate into the public arena.
- call on the Australian government to consult more widely on crypto
- call on all political parties to commit to unrestricted use of
strong cryptography both domestically and internationally.
- call on the government to:
- Remove the arbitrary restriction on application of the General Software
Note waiver. (This restriction excludes
Category 5 Part 2 (i.e. cryptography) software from the General Software
Note, which would otherwise allow the free export of mass market
and public domain crypto software).
- Support removal of crypto export restrictions
from the Wassenaar Arrangement, which introduced new restrictions
on mass market software in December 1998.
The campaign will involve:
- Preparation and distribution of briefing materials to all
Federal members of Parliament.
- Circulation of similar materials to the major parties.
- A media campaign, including release of a comprehensive FAQ on the
- Follow-up lobbying of key MPs.
- An approach to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Defence and Trade to review Australia's position on the
Wassenaar Arrangement in relation to cryptography.
- Liaison with other industry and user organisations opposed to the
current crypto controls.
- Liaison with representatives of the various government agencies
involved in cryptography regulation.
- Liaison with international civil liberties and privacy groups with
the objective of organising an international effort to have
commercial encryption products removed from the Wassenaar Arrengement.
Action to Date
1st July 1998
A letter was sent to every Member
of Parliament and Senator outlining the issues and calling on them to support
abolition of crypto controls.
30th June 1998
Media Release announcing the campaign.
What You Can Do
Or if you don't live in Australia you might consider taking part in the
International Crypto Campaign.
- Join the EFA Crypto List - send email to
with the word "subscribe" in the body of the message.
- Write to your local member about the issue.
- Watch this page regularly for updated information.
Defence in encryption crackdown
By Dan Tebbutt. The Australian 30 June 1998.
Cryptography: Brute Force Attack
Is the Security of Australian business under attack from hackers and
LAN Magazine, Australia. June 1998.
Australian Controls on the Export of Defence and Strategic Goods
(Cryptography controls are included under part 2 of Category 5)
The Wassenaar Arrangement - relevant documents concerning cryptography.
The Wassenaar Arrangement Secretariat
Review of policy relating to encryption technologies - the Walsh Report.
Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department 1996.
Crypto Politics. Electronic Frontiers Australia.
Distributing encryption software by the Internet: Loopholes in Australian
Patrick Gunning, Mallesons Stephen Jacques, 1998.
The Federal Coalition's Australia Online pre-election policy on privacy
and commercial security.
The Risks of Key Recovery, Key Escrow, and Trusted Third Party Encryption.
A Report by an Ad Hoc Group of Cryptographers and Computer Scientists, 1998.
Cryptography's Role in Securing the Information Society.
National Research Council, USA, 1996.
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Copyright © 1998 Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc.