Pretty Good Privacy Inc. said it has obtained Department of Commerce approval to export its mail and message encryption software to banks worldwide.

The company said its authority is broader than the transaction-oriented security licenses obtained by other companies. It includes encryption software for communications such as electronic mail and file transfers, in addition to encryption for securing bank transactions.

The approval stems from a Clinton administration commitment to permit stronger forms of data encryption in financial data and transactions.

The license applies to PGP for Business Security 5.5. Phil Dunkelberger, president and chief executive officer, said the approval indicates the government's willingness to "ensure that banks, regardless of where they are located, have the tools they need to protect their customers' sensitive financial information."

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