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Encryption Law Is A Tough Area

January 1st, 2016 by

Peter Browne is a casualty in the encryption wars.

entecFor the past year, Browne, senior vice president of information security for First Union Corp., has been unable to move aggressively on plans to implement an ambitious brokerage application on the bank’s Internet site. Why? Because, despite a red-hot battle between the White House on one side and encryption vendors and many Congress members on another, current law prohibits U.S. companies from “exporting” any product containing strong encryption. This means it would be illegal for $103 billion First Union, the nation’s sixth largest bank, to use strong (greater than 40-bit) encryption to encode financial transactions originating with customers outside the United States.

“Strong encryption technology is absolutely critical for all the product and system plans we have,” says Browne, in Charlotte, N.C. “These restrictions have hampered us from expanding our higher-risk …