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NIST Calls for Partners in Developing Key Escrowing Hardware

The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today an opportunity to join a cooperative research consortium for developing the next generation of encryption technology for computer hardware that contains integrated cryptographic key escrowing techniques. Industrial and academic partners will get the chance to shepherd enhanced key escrow encryption technologies through the research and development process.

Key escrow encryption is part of the Administration's initiative to improve telecommunications security, which emphasizes privacy, industrial competitiveness and effective law enforcement. The proposed consortium will seek to examine and develop new approaches to key escrowing.

The consortium will be organized according to the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986, which allows federal laboratories, including NIST, to enter into cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) with other organizations. NIST may contribute personnel, equipment and facilities, but no direct funding, to the cooperative research program. Members will be expected to contribute to the consortium's efforts in the form of materials, equipment, personnel, funds or any combination.

"Several industry organizations have expressed interest in our earlier call for a key escrow software CRADA," said F. Lynn McNulty, associate director for computer security at NIST. "We're looking for additional participants to step forward and help us in our search for solid solutions to both the software and hardware challenges."

Access to classified information is anticipated, and a current U.S. government secret clearance is required for participation in this program. The first phase of the research program is expected to last two to three years.

For more information contact Dr. Dennis K. Branstad, Computer Systems Laboratory, A216 Technology Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-2913, fax: (301) 948-1233.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

Released February 4, 1994, Updated November 27, 2017