FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECIV
MONDAY, JUNE 21, 1999(202) 514-2007
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
UNITED STATES SEEKS REHEARING OF ENCRYPTION DECISION
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice is filing a petition today for rehearing of a case involving the constitutionality of the federal government's export controls on encryption products. The petition will be filed in United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
On May 6, 1999, a divided three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in Bernstein v. Department of Commerce holding that the export controls violate the First Amendment as applied to encryption "source code," and further holding that the export controls on other encryption products cannot be judicially severed from those on encryption source code.
In the rehearing petition filed today, the government asks the Ninth Circuit to rehear the appeal and reconsider these rulings. The government's petition argues that the panel's legal rulings are erroneous and that the panel decision, if left in place, will have serious adverse consequences for the government's ability to control the export of encryption products to potentially hostile foreign parties.
The panel decision has not yet taken effect and will not do so while the rehearing petition is under consideration. The regulations controlling the export of encryption products, which are administered by the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Export Administration, remain in full effect.