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HP, IBM Sign Encryption Pact

Hewlett-Packard Corp. and IBM agreed to share data-scrambling technology for use in each other's computer products to be sold to customers overseas.

The agreement came after the U.S. Commerce Department agreed to let HP export its VerSecure technology for scrambling information sent across computer networks.

Hewlett-Packard and IBM, which is licensing VerSecure from HP, plan to sell computers and computer devices using the technology to five overseas countries sometime this year, according to an Associated Press report.

U.S. companies are currently restricted in the sale of sophisticated encryption technology overseas because of concerns that it may fall into the wrong hands. But the government relaxed its restrictions for HP, saying that it only needed access to the keys in those overseas countries that have similar requirements.

HP's encryption technology can be sold are France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, and Australia. More countries are expected to accept the VerSecure technology in coming months.