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Technology / AI and automation


Highlighting bizarre circumstances that the US export laws governing encryption occasionally produce, Network Associates Inc has gone to a Swiss company, Cnlab AG to get a version of its Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption software that performs the same functions so that it can sell it outside the US. Current US law prohibits the export of encryption software employing keys greater than 56-bits in length; this product, produced by Cnlab, uses 128-bit encryption. The company started shipping the product out of its Amsterdam, Netherlands-based European unit on Friday. NAI contacted the Department of Commerce informing it of its actions, but said it had got no reply as yet. The company, which acquired PGP last December went to great lengths to emphasize that it had neither offered nor given Cnlab any technical assistance whatsoever with the product, nor had Cnlab received any assistance from any other US corporation. Network Associates in the Netherlands has the exclusive licensing rights and the copyright on the product. NAI’s general manager of its Net Tools Secure division Peter Watkins said the company is not aware of how they [Cnlab} got the source code, to the product, though the PGP algorithms are widely available, which would be the basis of the product. NAI is planning to sell it in the UK, Germany, Australia, Japan and other countries that do not impose import restrictions on strong encryption products. NAI said its recent acquisition of Trusted Information Systems Inc will close around the end of next month. It has also established a new European security division, based in Windsor in the UK.

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