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IBM obtains approval to ship PCs with 256-bit security

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IBM Wednesday will announce that it has obtained approval from the U.S. government to sell business computers with 256-bit digital key decryption globally.

The announcement follows the recent loosening of the Clinton administration's encryption export policy, allowing U.S. companies to apply for permission to export 256-bit technology. Peter Hortensius, IBM director of emerging technology, says that IBM is believed to be the first such company to win approval.

The IBM PC 300PL computer and IntelliStation workstations each feature a security chip embedded on the system boards. The cryptographic microprocessor enables key decryption for privacy and digital signatures. It further allows 256-bit keys to store data locally or over a distributed network.

The PCs will be exported starting March 10. The U.S. government eased export restrictions, but still forbids shipments of cryptographic technology and machines to some nations, such as Cuba and Iraq.

The IBM secure PCs start at $1,289 for the PC 300PL and at $2,109 for the IntelliStation. Additional information is available at www.pc.ibm.com/ww.ibmpc/security/.

IBM, in Armonk, N.Y., can be reached at 914-765-1900 or www.ibm.com/.

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