Security bosses want encryption bans overturned

The Jericho Forum, whose ambition is to revolutionise security by making data totally secure, wants certain countries to stop banning encryption tools
Written by Dan Ilett, Contributor

An international security consortium is set to lobby governments around the world to withdraw restrictions on encryption standards.

The Jericho Forum, whose membership includes many chief security officers from FTSE 100 companies, will push for the removal of encryption restrictions within the next three-to-five years.

"This is a big problem for us," said Nick Bleech, a member of the Jericho Forum and an IT security director for Rolls Royce. "We have 200 locations [around the world]. In industrialised countries it's not a problem, the real problem comes from places like China. But the Chinese government is extremely keen to further new development."

Countries such as China, Russia, Israel and Saudi Arabia, have stipulated strict rules governing the use of encryption tools, and in some cases banned the practice. The Jericho Forum, which is looking to move away from the perimeter model for cybersecurity in favour of an approach that would make data totally secure, hinted this could cause problems for e-commerce.

"We can solve this," Bleech added. "But I don't think we'll come up with a universal solution that will solve everything. We don't have the clout to do that yet."

"We've got to lobby governments across borders, find out what restrictions there are and close them. At the moment it is a variable nightmare. The time frame is three to five years before this comes to fruition."

Bleech said that governments usually respect each others' encryption policies and make concessions for each other.

Bleech was speaking at Infosecurity 2005, which ends on Thursday.

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