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HP wins crypto export for Japan

The U.S. government has given the go ahead to Hewlett-Packard to export its VerSecure data encryption technology to Japan.

The U.S. government has given the go ahead to Hewlett-Packard to export its VerSecure data encryption technology to Japan, the company said today.

The approval marks the sixth that Hewlett-Packard has been granted since February to export VerSecure.

HP has received preliminary government approval to export VerSecure to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Denmark, and Australia.

Formerly known as the International Cryptography Framework, VerSecure offers 128-bit and triple-DES encryption to users running computer applications. Users can choose from limited to very strong cryptography and select whether to activate recovery capabilities, the company said.

"Japanese companies represent some of the world's biggest players in today's electronic world, so secure communications and transactions are essential," Lewis E. Platt, HP chairman, president, and chief executive officer said in a statement.

Encryption secures digital communications, rendering it unreadable if intercepted. The technology has been at the crux of a U.S. debate between federal criminal investigators, with one side asking Congress for access to the "keys" that unlock encrypted data, and consumer groups and industry representatives arguing that such provisions make encryption products useless and constitute an invasion of privacy.

The company said VerSecure will be installed and managed by a trusted Japanese company, referred to as a Security Domain Authority (SDA). The SDA, responsible for making encryption policy that adheres to Japanese law, will distribute software tokens that activate encryption technologies that support Japanese policy for companies in that country.