New French export laws

I’ve just been notified by Apple that there are new French export laws pertaining to the use of Encryption in France. As you may know, Novell have implemented a buggy but published implementation of Blowfish for encrypted folders and therefore we are required to conform to the new law.

The new law is written in French, so regrettably we have withdrawn the product from sale in France with immediate effect.

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2 Responses to New French export laws

  1. Emmanuel says:

    I’m french and an active and happy user of iFolder. New team members would like to use it here in France. Can we help you to get iFolder available again in France?

    • Developers says:

      Hi Emmanuel

      Unfortunately the burden of compliance with your governments new requirements is simply not viable for a small company like us.

      The new law basically requires use of any standard (e.g., AES, DES, 3DES, RSA) encryption algorithm(s) to be authorised in advance by the French government. The only exception is if said encryption is performed by the iOS itself (which presumably has been granted authorisation already).

      Unfortunately iFolder uses the openssl library to perform encryption, and despite this being the single commonest open-source encryption library on the planet the advice we have had from Apple is that the application requires explicit authorisation from France. Now this is actually rather strange since this requirement explicitly contradicts another part of the legislation that refers to cryptography that has been standardised or previously published, but we aren’t in a position to have it translated and so have to rely on the advice from Apple.

      Given the extremity of the penalties, we can’t take any chances.

      We might consider releasing a version to France that doesn’t support encrypted iFolders, since that would meet the criteria OK, however in the meantime you might like to lobby your government about giving clear advice in English rather than only in French as there will be a lot of other developers in the same position as us and from what I can tell, most are simply withdrawing from France like us.

      Sorry I can’t be the bearer of better news.

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