Dear Readers,

Holiday greetings to CIPHER readers everywhere, (and especially to CIPHER writers), and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.

The Clinton administration's new crypto export regulations (see new reports section below, if you want to read them) drew fire from various quarters, including an editorial in the New York Times condemning them as "unworkable and trampling on privacy rights." The Council of European Informatics Societies (CEPIS), an umbrella organization for several European professional informatics societies, including BCS in the UK and GI and ITG/VDE in Germany, issued a genearl policy statement on the use of cryptography prior to the appearance of the latest regulations (see below).

Of the three proposed World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties, two passed in a somewhat modified form; the third and most controversial, which could have considerably restricted use of databases, did not. It appears that the treaties as signed will not make the temporary electronic copies of documents or other materials created for browsing purposes a copyright violation, but much more will probably be written on this topic in the coming months. Presumably it will be up to the various nations to decide whether to ratify the treaties agreed in Geneva.

An interesting survey of the attitudes of Internet users on various topics, including concerns about data privacy, can be found at This is Georgia Tech's Graphics, Visualization, and Usability Center.

If you lock your keys in your new OnStar-equipped Cadillac, you can call a special number and the OnStar service can unlock your car remotely. But who else could?

Carl Landwehr
Editor, Cipher