FIPR Press Releases

FIPR: Foundation for Information Policy Research


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : 8th of July 1999


The full list of names of the 246 respondents to the consultation document "BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN ELECTRONIC COMMERCE" has been obtained by FIPR from the DTI with a request under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

The list is available at

An earlier request, submitted in March 1998 (NINETY-EIGHT), for comprehensive disclosure of information on the development of UK encryption policy since 1993, has been rejected in its entirety by DTI. The correspondence with the DTI, comprising dozens of letters, culminating in a blanket rejection after one year, has been under formal investigation by the Parliamentary Ombudsman since January 1999, and a ruling on disclosure is expected shortly.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : 4th March 1999 12:10 London

Tony Blair: "Key escrow is not the answer"

At a meeting this morning at No.10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Tony Blair told senior executives from the UK's most prominent IT companies that the Government would not seek to link licensing of Trusted Third Parties with key escrow.

The meeting was then addressed by Home Secretary Jack Straw, Trade Secretary Stephen Byers, and Cabinet Secretary Richard Wilson, who reinforced the seriousness with which Government views the threat posed by encryption to law enforcement.

An industry-government Task Force would intensively examine over a 3-week period possible technical alternative means to assist law enforcement, chaired by DTI civil servant David Hendon. Hendon supervised the development of the discredited mandatory licensing policy under the previous Conservative administration.

The Prime Minister said that it was not good enough for industry merely to say that key escrow was unworkable - they must assist in providing alternatives. It was suggested that the rejection of escrow may not be unconditional: if satisfactory solutions did not emerge, the issue might have to be revisited.

The represented organisations included BT, CBI, Entrust, GEC, HP, ICL, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Post Office, Racal, Sun.

A long-delayed Consultation Paper on the forthcoming Electronic Commerce Bill will be launched on Friday, accepting submissions until Easter.

Caspar Bowden, Director of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, said "this recognition at the highest level of Government of difficulties with the key escrow policy is unprecedented. We await the Consultation Paper to see exactly how the licensing conditions differ from those that have been trailed over the past few months".


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The Foundation for Information Policy Research is registered in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985 as a private company limited by guarantee (No.3574631). Application for charitable status is in progress

Last Revised: July 23 1999