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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Debate on Encryption

WASHINGTON -- Easing export controls on powerful data and voice-scrambling technology will hamper efforts to track down terrorists and other criminals, two top U.S. law enforcement officials told Congress.

Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh registered the White House's objections Tuesday to encryption-decontrol legislation that is widely supported by high-tech companies.

They told the House Armed Services Committee that increasing numbers of terrorist groups, child pornographers and financial criminals already are using the scrambling technology to avoid detection and frustrate prosecution.

Hi-tech industry officials said encryption is important to the future of worldwide networking and is already widely available outside the United States.