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User manual: Dodging the rules

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The National Security Agency (NSA) wrote the export rules on encryption. But from the point of view of corporations that want to ship U.S. software to their foreign offices, getting around the U.S. export rules is a top priority.

And even for those who used to work at the NSA, it's still a challenge.

"Well, I wrote those export rules when I was at the NSA," confessed Russell Davis, now chief of information technology security at SBC Warburg Dillon Read, a division of Swiss Bank Corp., which operates in 77 countries. Since joining the corporate life, Davis has used his knowledge of the NSA to find ways to work around the export system on behalf of his customer, the bank, which uses a lot of encryption-based security gear.

"It took 17 months to figure out how to get crypto-based smart cards to Swiss facilities and elsewhere," Davis said. "But I wrote the rules on all this, and I know how to get around them." Would he ever consider using government-approved data-recovery?

"Never," Davis declared. "My customers come first!"

"Our customers just aren't going to buy these types of products," said Tom Carty, vice president of business development for GTE CyberTrust. He agreed the government is leading industry down a path to build products few users will willingly buy.

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