Secure Communications

The politics of wiretapping and encryption

June 07, 2007 This article is excerpted from Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption, Updated and Expanded Edition, by Whitfield Diffie, vice president and chief security officer, and Susan Landau, distinguished engineer, both of Sun Microsystems. Diffie is also co-inventor of Diffie-Hellman public key cryptography. This excerpt is used with permission of The MIT Press

The potential impact on privacy is profound. Telecommunications are intrinsically interceptable, and this interceptability has by and large been enhanced by digital technology. Communications designed to be sorted and switched by digital computers can be sorted and recorded by digital computers. Common-channel signaling, broadcast networks and communication satellites facilitate interception on a grand scale previously unknown. Laws will not change these facts.

When it is not be possible to prevent communications from being intercepted, it may still be possible to protect them. The primary technology for protecting telecommunications is cryptography, which, despite its ancient origins, is largely a product of the 20th century.

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June 7, 2007 - Posted by | bugging devices, countersurveillance, eavesdrop, encryption, English, illegal, phone tap, privacy, security, spy, surveillance, tap, technology, wiretap

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