Ad Campaign Launched To Fight Encryption Limits

Americans for Computer Privacy, a coalition opposed to strict U.S. export controls on data-scrambling technology, launched an integrated ad campaign to press for changing the rules.

The campaign features television commercials and Web ads, designed to generate grass-roots support, Reuters reported.

The rules, put in place by the Clinton administration, sharply limit the ability of U.S. companies to sell products to foreign customers that include encryption. Law enforcement and national security agencies favor the export restrictions, fearing that unregulated export of encryption could allow use by criminals and terrorists to hide their activities.

U.S. companies argue, though, that the export restrictions make little sense when so many companies outside the country are selling encryption products.

The TV ads will run on local television stations in Washington and nationally on cable networks such as CNN and MSNBC. Internet ads will be carried on Web sites such as those of the Comedy Central cable network and Reader’s Digest magazine. Spending was not disclosed.

The interactive ads allow a Web surfer to input their zip code and receive a targeted message about contacting their congressional representatives.

Americans for Computer Privacy includes Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. along with organizations like the National Association of Manufacturers and various telephone companies.

Advocacy groups in the coalition range from a left-tilting cyber civil liberties group called the Center for Democracy and Technology to the right- leaning Americans for Tax Reform, Reuters said.

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