TV's as weapons

CobraBoy (
Sat, 02 Nov 1996 13:32:07 -0800

> From Electronic Buyers' News:
> October 28, 1996
> Issue: 1030
> Section: News
> By Jack Robertson
> Washington - New Internet-television systems from Sony Corp. and
> Philips Electronics Co. are technically munitions under U.S. export
> controls and cannot be shipped to the companies' worldwide sales
> networks, it was disclosed last week.
> Sony officials said the company's TV set-top box designed by WebTV of
> Palo Alto, Calif., includes a state-of-the-art 128-bit code encryption
> system for electronic commerce. This far exceeds the 40-bit encryption
> code permissible for export under the U.S. Munitions Control List.
> Philips also makes a WebTV set-top Internet box at its Magnavox TV
> plant in Knoxville, Tenn., and is similarly barred from shipping the
> unit to sales channels around the world.
> Both global electronic giants face immediate competition in the
> emerging TV-Internet surfing market from other Japanese, South Korean,
> and European set-makers that don't face the U.S. encryption
> controls. They now join the U.S. computer industry, which has long
> protested that the outmoded encryption export curbs are causing them
> to forfeit overseas sales of PCs and workstations to foreign rivals.
> President Clinton last month proposed lifting the level of encryption
> export controls from the present 40-bit code word to 56 bits, but only
> if a trap door is embedded in the cipher to allow law enforcement
> agencies to decode wiretapped messages. Clinton is expected shortly to
> sign an executive order putting the new control limits into effect.
> The pending 56-bit-code threshold doesn't help the Sony or Philips
> Web-surfing TV systems - nor most U.S. computer companies that build
> systems with encryption exceeding even the new control limit. Both
> Netscape and Microsoft Web-browsing software includes 128-bit code
> encryption, surpassing export curbs.
> Zenith Electronics Co., maker of a Web-surfing TV set, isn't concerned
> about the encryption controls, since it sells only in the U.S. market
> where the curbs don't apply.
> Divicom Inc., based in Milpitas, Calif., must get an export license
> from the U.S. State Department for every exported cable TV front-end
> encoder, which includes 128-bit code word, according to Tom
> Lookabough, the company's sales manager. He said the license review
> process can take eight weeks or more, a troublesome delay that foreign
> competitors don't face.
> Divicom and Scientific Atlanta both said their new digital TV set-top
> boxes include encryption that exceeds allowable export limits - but
> virtually all sales so far are in the U.S. market. As digital-box
> production ramps up, the companies would like to sell overseas, but
> run into the export control ban that puts them at a severe
> disadvantage against the foreign competitors aggressively entering the
> set-top market.
> President Clinton's encryption export control changes include an
> industry-favored provision to take the category off the State
> Department's Munitions Control List and shift responsibility to the
> Commerce Department.

** History 101** Hiroshima 45 - Chernobyl 86 - Windows 95 ============================================= "The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste, and what that means is, I don't mean that in a small way I mean that in a big way. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third rate products."

Steve Jobs, Triumph of the Nerds, PBS Documentary