Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

55 Federal Communications Law Journal 331 (2003)


This Note argues that although privacy and economic concerns have ruled the encryption debate during the past decade, the move toward increased privacy on the Internet and relaxed encryption regulation, designed to promote electronic commerce, comes at the expense of national security and the protection of Americans' safety. The Article begins with historical information about encryption and an examination of how businesses use encryption to secure their communications and financial transactions on the Internet. This Section also observes that this technology is employed by terrorist organizations to accomplish the same goal: to send private communications. The Author next details the history of encryption regulation during the last decade and addresses why the government has relaxed its stance even though encryption ultimately poses such a threat. The Note then analyzes whether encryption regulation will provide the intelligence community the tools to deal with terrorists who are now technologically savvy, or whether regulation will hurt the nation's already wounded economy. The Author then examines Magic Lantern, cutting-edge technology developed by the FBI that effectively incorporates the privacy benefits of encryption while still providing Americans protection in this new era of terrorism. The Author concludes by proposing the adoption of Magic Lantern as a way to protect privacy and economic concerns while ensuring national security.