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Lack of confidence in the security mechanisms associated with the internet is often cited as one of the main brakes on e-commerce. But use of regulated encryption technologies is one way of providing such security. Legislators in the UK and worldwide are treading a difficult path. On the one hand, they wish to facilitate an environment in which secure communications can be made over the internet in ways that foster confidence and trust. On the other, they do not want to provide a tool that could be used by organised criminals or terrorists. Lawyers who wish to exploit dealroom or secure e-mail technology are also watching developments in this area.

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