Bruce Schneier says that the President has declared a national emergency and used it to extend the US export controls on cryptography. Apparently this happens every few years; Bush and Clinton have both done it.

As the article says, crypto exports really are a lot easier then they were in the ‘90s, but there are still issues. We’ve had to deal with some of them at work, and it felt like a total throwback to days past–we need to file paperwork with the government before we can ship crypto software to Europe? Even though we’re just using the standard set of open-source crypto tools that we probably downloaded from Europe in the first place?

At least we didn’t actually need approval–just notification. It’s a step in the right direction, and no one’s actually afraid that the US will completely ban encryption tools anymore. That was a real fear for a while in the ‘90s.