France - Two decrees published on use of encryption

Subject: France - Two decrees published on use of encryption
From: Emanuella Giavarra (
Date: ma 02 maalis 1998 - 15:39:59 EET

(From LABnews Jan/Febr)

* France - Decrees published on use of encryption

Two decrees have been published in France which bring a degree of
liberalisation of the rules applying to cryptography tools.

The first decree lays down three regimes: freedom from prior
formalities, declaration and authorisation. In each case, a distinction
may exist between use of a cryptographic tool, on one hand, and its
supply (including import from outside the EEA or export) on the other.

Cryptography tools may be used freely provided that the private keys are
entrusted to an authorised third party. Tools which do not ensure
confidentiality, such as password and digital signature verification,
may also be used freely. A further ministerial decree will define which
products may be used or supplied without prior formalities.

A declaration is required for supply of tools which do not ensure
confidentiality (unless, presumably, they are covered by the “no prior
formalities” regime) and for use and supply of (weak) encryption tools.
Further ministerial decrees will designate the products falling under
these categories. The decree does not specifically restrict the
declaration procedure to weak encryption, but this is stated to be the
government’s intention. A declaration made for supply for general use
dispenses users from making individual declarations.

An authorisation is required for supply or use of all tools not falling
under the previous categories (e.g. strong encryption without key

Décret no 98-101 du 24 février 1998 définissant les conditions dans
lesquelles sont souscrites les déclarations et accordées les
autorisations concernant les moyens et prestations de cryptologie.

The second decree lays down conditions for recognition as an authorised
third party.

Décret no 98-102 du 24 février 1998 définissant les conditions dans
lesquelles sont agréés les organismes gérant pour le compte d'autrui des
conventions secrètes de cryptologie.

The full texts of both decrees are available online at:
Follow link to Journal Officiel, search on decree number.

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