Public/private-key encryption has enabled Internet security and played a critical role in the growth of the Web. It has also effectively changed the balance of power between individuals and governments. Next month, RSA Security’s key U.S. patents for those technologies expire. RSA has resolutely enforced its patents for 16 years and many of the company’s competitors are waiting expectantly for September 26, when they have the right to market their own variations of the encryption products based on RSA algorithms. Internationally, where RSA patents have not applied, developers have already begun selling such products and these companies will be allowed to introduce their innovations into the U.S. as well.
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