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EFF: Crypto

EFF: Crypto

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Published by: EFF on Jan 28, 2008
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<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN""http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"><html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en"><head><title>EFF: </title><meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /><link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"href="http://www.eff.org/sites/all/themes/frontier/style.css"><link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"href="http://w2.eff.org/stylesheets/www2.css"><link rel="stylesheet"href="http://www.eff.org/sites/all/themes/frontier/800.css" type="text/css"media="screen" id="narrow" title="narrow" /><link rel="alternate stylesheet"href="http://www.eff.org/sites/all/themes/frontier/1015.css" type="text/css"media="screen" id="wide" title="wide" /><script src="http://www.eff.org/sites/all/themes/frontier/resizey.js"type="text/javascript"></script><link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="EFF - Deeplinks"href="http://www.eff.org/rss/blog" /><link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="EFF - Press Releases"href="http://www.eff.org/rss/pressrelease" /><link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="EFF - Action Alerts"href="http://action.eff.org/feed/rss2_0/alerts.rss" /><link rel="shortcut icon" type="image/x-icon" href="/favicon.ico" /><script type="text/javascript"><!--window.onresize =doOnResize;window.onload = doOnLoad;//--></script></head><body><div class="wrapper"><div id="header"><div id="headerinner"><div id="search"><div id="searchinner"><form method="get" action="/cgi/search-proxy.py"><input class="searchtextarea" type="text" name="q" size="15" maxlength="255"value="Enter search terms" onclick="this.value = ''" /> <input type="submit"class="submit" value="Search EFF" name="sa" /> <a class="searchinfolink"href="/policy#search">?</a></form></div></div><a id="logo" href="/"><imgsrc="http://robin.eff.org/sites/all/themes/frontier/images/head_logo.png"alt="Electronic Frontier Foundation" width="442" height="66" border="0" /></a></div></div></div><div id="topnav"><div class="wrapper"><ul class="links-menu"><li><a href="http://www.eff.org/about" class=" first">About</a></li>
 
<li><a href="http://www.eff.org/work">Our Work</a></li><li><a href="http://www.eff.org/deeplinks">Deeplinks Blog</a></li><li><a href="http://www.eff.org/press">Press Room</a></li><li><a href="http://action.eff.org/">Take Action</a></li><li><a href="http://secure.eff.org/" class=" last">Join EFF</a></li></ul></div></div><div class="wrapper"><div id="content" class="withoutsidebar"><div class="breadcrumb"><a href="http://www.eff.org/">Home</a> &raquo; <a href="/Privacy/">Privacy</a>&raquo; <a href="/Privacy/Crypto/">Crypto</a><spanclass="crumbspacer">&nbsp;</span></div></div><!-- conditional navbars --><div class="clr"></div> <div id="featuretext"><pre>From infobot-owner@wired.com Mon Jan 31 17:19:15 1994Subject: Majordomo file: file '1.2/features/crypto-rebels'[Note: The main article is Crypto-Rebels, but the following side-bar articlesare included also in this file:The NSA Remains Cryptic: The Official ReplyHis Crime: Checking Out A Book - John Gilmore Challenges the NSAThe Bedside Crypto Reader - Further Readings on Cypherpunk TopicsThe NSA is Not AloneThese files are also available on America Online, etc. Distribution inelectronic media appears to be A-OK, but restrictions may apply, so it's bestto contact Wired first, before redistributing any further.]_Wired 1.2_Crypto-Rebels*************The battle is engaged.It's the FBIs, NSAs, and Equifaxes of the world versus a swellingmovement of Cypherpunks, civil libertarians, and millionaire hackers.At stake: Whether privacy will exist in the 21st century.Steven Levy reports on the Pretty Good Revolution.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^The office atmosphere of Cygnus Support, a fast-growing Silicon Valleycompany that earns its dollars by providing support to users of freesoftware, seems like a time warp to the days when hackers ran free.Though Cygnus is located in a mall-like business park within earshot ofUS 101, it features a spacious cathedral ceiling overhanging a cluttered
 
warren of workstation cubicles arranged in an irregular sphericalconfiguration. A mattress is nestled in the rafters. In a hallway behindthe reception desk is a kitchen laden with snack food and soft drinks.Today, a Saturday, only a few show up for work. The action instead is ina small conference room overlooking the back of the complex - a"physical meeting" of a group whose members most often gather in thecorridors of cyberspace. Their mutual interest is the arcane field ofcryptography - the study of secret codes and cyphers. The very fact thatthis group exists, however, is indication that the field is about toshift into overdrive. This is crypto with an attitude, best embodied bythe group's moniker: Cypherpunks.The one o'clock meeting doesn't really get underway until almost three.By that time around fifteen techie-cum-civil libertarians are sittingaround a table, wandering around the room, or just lying on the floorstaring at the ceiling while listening to the conversations. Most havebeards and long hair - Smith Brothers gone digital.The talk today ranges from reports on a recent cryptography conferenceto an explanation of how entropy degrades information systems. There isan ad hoc demonstration of a new product, an AT&T "secure" phone,supposedly the first conversation-scrambler that's as simple to use as astandard-issue phone. The group watches in amusement as two of theirnumber, including one of the country's best cryptographic minds, havetrouble making the thing work. (This is sort of like watching EricClapton struggle with a new, easy-to-play guitar.) There is discussionof random number generators. Technical stuff, but everything has anunderlying, if not explicitly articulated, political theme: the vitalimportance of getting this stuff out to the world for the public weal.The people in this room hope for a world where an individual'sinformational footprints - everything from an opinion on abortion to themedical record of an actual abortion - can be traced only if theindividual involved chooses to reveal them; a world where coherentmessages shoot around the globe by network and microwave, but intrudersand feds trying to pluck them out of the vapor find only gibberish; aworld where the tools of prying are transformed into the instruments ofprivacy.There is only one way this vision will materialize, and that is bywidespread use of cryptography. Is this technologically possible?Definitely. The obstacles are political - some of the most powerfulforces in government are devoted to the control of these tools. Inshort, there is a war going on between those who would liberate cryptoand those who would suppress it. The seemingly innocuous bunch strewnaround this conference room represents the vanguard of the pro-cryptoforces. Though the battleground seems remote, the stakes are not: Theoutcome of this struggle may determine the amount of freedom our societywill grant us in the 21st century. To the Cypherpunks, freedom is anissue worth some risk. "Arise," urges one of their numbers, "You havenothing to lose but your barbed-wire fences."Crashing the Crypto Monopoly^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^As the Cold War drifts into deep memory, one might think that theAmerican body charged with keeping our secret codes and breaking the

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