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Congress can be heard in cyberspace

For the first time, listeners can tune in to Congress in cyberspace.

For the first time, listeners can tune in to Congress in cyberspace.

A second day of hearings on federal encryption policy will take place Wednesday before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on science, technology and space, and the proceedings will be simulcast on the HotWired site using RealAudio technology.

Officials also encouraged Internet users to visit the Encryption Policy Resource Page and send in comments to be entered into the Senate record.

Among those scheduled to speak before the subcommittee are Sun Microsystems' Whitfield Diffie, the co-creator of public-key encryption, Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy and Information Center, and Phil Zimmermann, author of Pretty Good Privacy encryption and until recently a target of a federal investigation regarding the export of his program.

The first day of hearings on June 12 saw several software industry leaders, including Jim Barksdale of Netscape Communications and Jim Bidzos of RSA Data Security, argue strongly against existing federal encryption export policy that prevents U.S. companies from shipping strong software encryption overseas.

The subcommittee's chairman, Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana), is sponsor of the Pro-CODE bill that seeks to relax export policy and prohibit "key escrow" schemes that would give the government access to decryption keys stored with neutral third parties.

Related story:
Battle over encryption bill heats up