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Date: 1999-11-20

Drogen, Terror & Krypto im UK

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Die zweifellos dümmste aller anzunehmenden Passagen aus
der Aussendung des britischen Departments of Trade and
Industry zu der im Moment entschärften E-Commerce-Bill
[siehe unten].

Als Ausdruck dafür, was für ein Geist durch anscheinend alle
sozialdemo/kratisch regierte Innenministerien Europas weht,
sprach Home Office Minister Charles Clarke folgende Worte
für eine Nachwelt, die hoffentlich einmal mehr darüber lachen
wird, als unsere Generation:

"Encryption is a double-edged sword - both vital to the e-
commerce revolution and at the same time a deadly weapon
in the hands of criminals. Paedophiles, drug traffickers and
terrorists are already using encryption to try and evade
justice. This cannot be allowed to continue."

related Story
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DTI Press Release P/99/938 19 November 1999 ERA OF

The Government today published The Electronic
Communications Bill to promote electronic commerce in the
UK in the 21st century.

The Bill forms an important part of the Government's policy to
develop the UK as the best environment world-wide in which
to trade electronically. Microsoft have called the Bill 'the
model for Europe'.

Ms Hewitt said:

"This historic Bill will help make the UK the best place in the
world to do electronic business. Britain led the world in the
first industrial revolution. Now we are determined to be
winners in the new knowledge economy revolution. This
Government is creating the conditions in which UK
businesses can thrive and where the UK becomes first
choice for investors.

"Many of our laws are hundreds of years old. They were
written for the days of pen and paper. Today's businesses
operate with e-mail and digital signatures. We must
modernise our laws if we are to compete in the electronic

"We are determined to get e-commerce law right and get it in
fast. That is why we are introducing this Bill in the same
week as the Queen's Speech. We are on course to meet our
original target for Royal Assent by April 2000 making this one
of the UK's first 21st century laws."

Under the legislation:

electronic signatures will be given explicit legal recognition by
the courts for the first time, giving people a secure electronic
alternative to paper;

obstacles in existing laws which insist on the use of paper
will be swept away wherever it makes sense to give people
the electronic option;

a 'kitemarked' self-regulatory approvals scheme will be
established to ensure minimum standards of quality and
service. People will be able to check who has sent an
electronic message, ensure it has not been tampered with
and that no-one else has read it on the way (see Note to
Editors 1);

if the self-regulatory scheme works, there will be no need to
set up a statutory scheme. Only if self-regulation failed would
the Government establish a statutory scheme which would
also still be voluntary. This part of the Bill will be subject to a
'Sunset Clause'. If a statutory scheme has not been set up
within five years then the Government's power to set one up
would lapse.

Following two extensive consultations on the draft Bill with
business and the IT industry the Government also announced

mandatory key escrow has been explicitly ruled out in the
Bill (See Note 2);

important law enforcement powers have been moved from this
Bill to the Home Office 'Investigatory Powers Bill' to be
debated alongside a comprehensive updating of similar

Home Office Minister Charles Clarke said:

"Encryption is a double-edged sword - both vital to the e-
commerce revolution and at the same time a deadly weapon
in the hands of criminals. Paedophiles, drug traffickers and
terrorists are already using encryption to try and evade
justice. This cannot be allowed to continue. As encryption
becomes more readily available and easier to use, the need
to modernise police powers to enable them to read the
material they can already lawfully get access to becomes
ever more urgent.

"That is why the Government will provide law enforcement
agencies with new powers to access decryption keys and
the plain text of lawfully obtained material under properly
authorised procedures containing strong safeguards. We
have listened and reflected on how best to update the statute
book and have decided to take the measure forward this
session in the Investigatory Powers Bill instead of the
Electronic Communications Bill."

People who welcomed the Electronic Communications Bill

Karen Thomson, Managing Director AOL UK who said:

"AOL continually strives to make it simpler and more secure
for our members to shop online. By giving legal recognition to
electronic signatures, the e-commerce bill provides us with
additional scope to enhance member confidence in the

John Browning, co-founder of First Tuesday, Europe's leading
meeting place for people, money and ideas in new media and
e- commerce who said:

"Trust is the ultimate basis of business success. So creating
a regulatory environment that makes the electronic realm at
least as consistent, predictable and trustworthy as the
physical one is the most important thing Government can do
to promote the new generation of internet entrepreneurs
transforming Britain's economy - and the world's."

Carl Symon, Chief Executive Officer of IBM United Kingdom
Limited, who said:

"IBM welcomes the introduction of this important measure
and we hope that it will become law very early in the new
Millennium. It is clear from the Bill's text that the Government
has listened very closely to what industry has had to say.

"We are delighted in particular that ministers support an
industry-led approach to developing trust in emerging
technologies and services. It's now down to UK industry to
take forward this initiative not only to meet e-commerce
requirements in the UK but also to serve as a model for other
countries in Europe and world-wide."

David Svendsen, Chairman of Microsoft Ltd, who said:

"With the publication today of the Bill, which provides a
model for the rest of Europe to follow, we are sending a
signal to UK and European businesses that Britain can
become one of the best places in the world to do electronic
business in the next millennium."

Keith Todd, Chief Executive of ICL, who said:

"This is good news. The separation of the legitimate
commerce issues from the law enforcement one is
particularly welcome because it shows that Government is
listening to what Industry wants.

"We in ICL are contributing to the Alliance for Electronic
Business in the development of the self regulatory scheme
which we understand will satisfy all the needs of Part 1 of the
Bill. This new sense of partnership between Industry and
Government will make the UK a great place for electronic

Keith Chapple, Managing Director Intel UK, who said:

"We are delighted that government has confirmed in the Bill
that key- escrow is off the agenda and is focusing on the real
issue of legal recognition of electronic signatures which will
give a vital boost to business and consumer confidence and
promote the growth of electronic business in the UK."

The Bill also includes powers to modernise procedures to
modify telecommunications licences. Existing procedures
were originally designed for a small number of licence-holders
and have become cumbersome and unwieldy now that there
are hundreds of licence- holders. The procedures will be
streamlined following further consultation with the industry
making it easier to adapt licences to changing market

Notes to Editors

1. The Government is working with the Alliance for Electronic
Business on a non-statutory, self-regulatory scheme known
as the 'T- Scheme'. Good progress is being made and
Government will make further announcements during the
passage of the Bill.

2. Mandatory key escrow would have required people wanting
to keep their e-mails confidential to deposit copies of their
'electronic keys' with third parties to help law enforcement in
case criminal activity was suspected. The Government
rejected this policy earlier this year because it would have
imposed unfair burdens on law abiding citizens but it would
have been able for criminals to evade. Now mandatory key
escrow has been ruled out explicitly in the Bill.

3. The Bill is available on the Houses of Parliament website
at: http://www.parliament.the-stationery-

4. The DTI has published a summary of responses to the
consultation on the draft Bill launched on 23 July. The
summary is available on the DTI website:

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relayed by
Yaman Akdeniz
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edited by
published on: 1999-11-20
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