"It is the sense of Congress that providers of electronic communications services and manufacturers of electronic communications service equipment shall ensure that communications systems permit the government to obtain the plaintext contents of voice, data, and other communications when appropriately authorized by law." (Baase, 2003) This excerpt was initially taken from Senate Bill 266 in 1991 and articulates the goal of governmental agencies since that time. The U.S. Government has since tried to pass legislation to control the encryption used by software manufacturers relating to information communicated over the internet. Through research and analysis I will define the encryption standards, explore the legislation that the government is trying to put in place and determine if government involvement in encryption standards is if fact necessary.
Encryption is defined as a process of translating a message, called the Plaintext, into an encoded message, called the Ciphertext. The Ciphertext is encoded text, after it has been passed through an Encryption algorithm and is the product of Plaintext after Encryption. A Cipher is a computer software algorithm used for Encryption. Encryption is usually accomplished using a secret key and a cryptographic Cipher. Two basic types of Encryption that are commonly used are Symmetric Encryption, where a single secret key is used for both encryption and decryption or Asymmetric Encryption, where a pair of keys is used, one for Encryption and the other for Decryption. .
The first encryption algorithm to be developed was known as DES and was presented by IBM to the National Security Agency (NSA) for review and approval in the 1970's. "The National Security Agency (NSA) was formed in 1952 by a secret presidential order." (Baase, 2003) Using the most powerful computers in the world, the NSA is responsible for monitoring communications between the U.