What would be the cost to society if criminals concealed their communications using codes the government cannot decipher? How will U.S. economic competitiveness be affected by export controls on cryptographic systems? How important is protecting society from abuses by criminals and terrorists versus protecting personal privacy from all threats -- including potential eavesdropping by the government?
In this talk we consider the dual-edged sword cryptography presents to both law enforcement and national security, we present a brief history of wiretap law in the United States, and we put the current policy on cryptography in the context of decisions over the last twenty years. We briefly discuss the anticipated impact of EES on the computer and cryptography industries, on privacy, and on law enforcement and national security. For further details, the audience is urged to read the ACM report: Codes, Keys, and Conflicts: Issues in U.S. Crypto Policy, available via http://info.acm.org/reports/acm_crypto_study.html.