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I've just read a paper from 2004 which stated that the RC4 encryption algorithm was restricted to a 40 bit key size when exported from the USA; however the reference for this information (Applied Cryptography - Schneieir) was published in 1996.

Here's the link to the paper "The effectiveness of brute force attacks on RC4".

I'm relatively new to cryptography but as far as I'm aware, a lot of the old export laws have been relaxed. Was the key length of RC4 still restricted in 2004? If so, is that still the case?

Thanks for any help.

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    $\begingroup$ Beware of import restrictions of other countries though. Especially when importing your ePassport into such countries ;) $\endgroup$ – Maarten Bodewes Oct 9 '14 at 12:29
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    $\begingroup$ There is still some export regulation, but it boils down to "fill out a certain form" to register your strong crypto export. $\endgroup$ – CodesInChaos Oct 9 '14 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ @CodesInChaos: unless you're exporting to North Korea, Syria, or an handful of other countries. If you want to export to those countries, it's a lot more than "fill out some paperwork" $\endgroup$ – poncho Oct 9 '14 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ Given that RC4 is a horrible cipher, with worrisome public cryptanalysis and plausible rumors that NSA can break it, they would likely be quite happy for you to use it, regardless of key size. $\endgroup$ – Matt Nordhoff Oct 9 '14 at 14:39
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Afaik, the general export restrictions on keylengths of common ciphers were lifted during the Clinton administration. Here's the relevant wiki article.

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The regulation lifting the restrictions was published in Jan 2000. You can see this in the Federal Register, and I think the exact date was January 14, 2000. You can see this in for example http://web.archive.org/web/20000815053812/http://www.bxa.doc.gov/Encryption/pdfs/Crypto.pdf

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your contribution. However, without any source reference this answer is incomplete at the very minimum. Answers should generally not consist of a single unverifiable statement without any reasoning to back it up. Could you update it? Otherwise the answer may be deleted for the stated reasons. $\endgroup$ – Maarten Bodewes Jul 1 '19 at 12:38

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