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Proceedings Paper

Is there a future in privacy: encryption and digital signatures
Author(s): Simson L. Garfinkel
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Paper Abstract

Cryptography is a set of mathematical techniques used to protect the secrecy of information sent by unprotected or undefendable channels. Although cryptography is thought to be as old as writing itself, recent developments over the past 20 years have greatly expanded its use and need. Today a variety of new cryptographic techniques, including public key cryptography and digital signatures, promise virtually unlimited privacy for our communications--and near certain proof when fraudulent information is sent masquerading as legitimate communications. Nevertheless, despite these advances in cryptography and communications systems, we seem to have less privacy now than ever before. Indeed, as we prepare to exit the 20th Century, our society seems determined to replace the protective value of personal privacy with a new regime that promises positive identification and authentication, and absolute accountability for our actions. Ironically, cryptography and digital signatures may play a strong role in bringing about this dystopian future as well.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 March 1996
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 2616, Information Protection and Network Security, (12 March 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.232261
Show Author Affiliations
Simson L. Garfinkel, Freelance Journalist (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2616:
Information Protection and Network Security
Viktor E. Hampel; Clifford B. Neuman; John Perry Barlow, Editor(s)

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