[16 July 1996] Following June 26 Congressional hearings on proposed legislation that would loosen restrictions on the use and export of cryptography, Vice President Gore proposed new policies on July 12, but, according to New York Times writer John Markoff (July 13, p.33), failed to gain much support for them from the computer industry, civil libertarians, or privacy advocates. The new policies anticipate the development of a "global key management infrastructure" in which "trusted private sector parties" would verify digital signatures and "hold spare keys to confidential data" which could be obtained only by those who had lost keys to their own data or "by law enforcement officials acting under proper authority."

According to Gore's explanation of the policy, the administration would be willing to temporarily drop some restrictions on the export of strong cryptography in return for industry cooperation on key escrow "(e.g., investments in products that support key recovery)". Also under consideration are policies to permit the export of encryption using longer keys for use in health care and insurance applications. Currently only financial institutions have such permission as a matter of policy, although permission for American firms to export strong cryptography for particular applications can be sought and approved on a case-by-case basis. The full text of the announcement is available at http://www.cdt.org/crypto/960712_Gore_stmnt.html; Gore's explanation of the policy is available at http://www.cdt.org/crypto/960712_Gore_expl.html.

Encryption and data security were also highlighted in the first evening's broadcasts of the new Microsoft/NBC cable/Internet news channel (MSNBC) on July 15. Steve Walker of Trusted Information Systems was interviewed and discussed encryption policy; later New York Times writer John Markoff and others discussed the arrest of Kevin Mitnick.