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RSA Laboratories

6.5.2 Why do some countries have import restrictions on cryptography?

As indicated in the answer to Question 6.5.1, several countries including China, Israel, and Russia have import restrictions on cryptography. Some countries require vendors to obtain a license before importing cryptographic products. Many governments use such import licenses to pursue domestic policy goals. In some instances, governments require foreign vendors to provide technical information to obtain an import license. This information is then used to steer business toward local companies. Other governments have been accused of using this same information for outright industrial espionage.

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