US moves to squelch chinese encryption plans

Monday, 1 March 2004, 12:21 PM EST

A number of key U.S. government and industry bodies are behind an effort to squelch a proposed Chinese wireless encryption standard that they believe will undermine the World Trade Organization's crucial trade efforts with China.

At issue is the Wireless LAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI) encryption scheme, which China last December mandated must be incorporated into every WLAN device used within China's borders by June 1, 2004.

The scheme is incompatible with the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) or Advanced Encryption Scheme (AES) schemes currently used by the IEEE in its 802.11x standards.

In addition, China has demanded that any company wishing to incorporate the scheme must partner with one of 24 Chinese domestic companies which have the WAPI-specific intellectual property. This has U.S., European and Japanese industry groups up in arms.

By Patrick Mannion at Security Pipeline.

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