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Triangle Business Journal: Linux software’s growth may shift U.S. trade plan

Last week, William Reinsch, undersecretary of the U.S.
Department of Commerce, said the Clinton administration may soon
reconsider its restriction on exporting source code for programs
using strong encryption.
That sounds like a lot of
gobbledygook. But let me explain.”

“American companies are now generally restricted from selling
software that uses strong encryption to international vendors. The
view generally has been that national security could be at risk if
rogue nations and companies that trade products and services hide
behind strongly encrypted software that no one can
decipher….”

“Then comes Linux, an open-source operating system that can be
accessed over the Internet, free of charge. Current export
restrictions consider posting source code on the Internet as an
export. That meant Linux vendors will not be able to build strong
encryption features if they want the international community to
download their programs.”


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