This summer, two warring groups within the computer industry sent letters to Vice President Al Gore regarding the need to boost the competitiveness of U.S. high tech firms by increasing the strength of the computer encryption the Pentagon will permit computer makers to export.

The signers of the letters all were chief executives of major hardware and software companies, with one exception, Eugene Shanks, president of Bankers Trust New York Corp.

By signing the letter, Shanks wasn't acting merely as a civic-minded corporate executive, but a senior officer of a company that plans on marketing its own computer encryption services, according to company spokesman Thomas Parisi. Bankers Trust intends to sell its own computer encryption services, perhaps as early as the end of this year, but Parisi said no one from the bank would provide details.

Bankers Trust's computer encryption products are "at a development stage,".parisi said. The encryption products will be distinct from financial products and services that are the core of the New York money center's business and will be geared to "any kind of requirement a client might have for securing the data it transmits."

The encryption products grew out of the bank's own use of data encryption for its financial transactions and business communications. In recent years, Banker-s Trust has been one of the banking industry's heaviest users of public-key/private-key encryption, and it has become a major customer of RSA Data Security Inc., the Redwood City, CA, software firm that owns some of the most important patents for encryption.

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