Waging crypto wars 2.0

    Date07 Oct 2010
    Posted ByAlex
    I was drawn to security in the early 90s during the crypto battle against the U.S. government, which was trying to force companies to adopt broken encryption with built in backdoors, like the failed Clipper Chip. Fortunately, the crypto wars were won by the side of reason, not least because of activists hoarding crypto technology in offshore locations. Today we all enjoy strong, unbreakable, backdoor-free encryption as a result of the 90s crypto battle. That battle is about to begin again as the U.S. government proposes to introduce backdoors, by design fiat, into commercial communications security systems. They were wrong then and they are wrong now but the stakes are much higher this time.

    In the information age, communication security is paramount. It ensures the secure flow of money in electronic commerce, the free exchange of ideas and the flourishing of democracy, even in hostile regimes. Fortunately, the tools to secure communications are widely available and people around the world have access to strong encryption, unbreakable by any government. Encryption can be found in source code, with open peer-reviewed algorithms that can be implemented in any programming language, embedded in software and layered on top of any communications channel. The cat is well out of the bag. Yet, the U.S. government wants to pursue a futile effort to reverse history, putting the entire Internet in peril in pursuit of an illusion.

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