Comsec, sigint, NSA, NIST, DES, Clipper chip, key escrowsuch technobabble related to intelligence-gathering can baffle the uninitiated. This authoritative treatise helps unveil some of the mystery and puts contemporary freedom, privacy and security issues in perspective. After explaining basic concepts of cryptography, the authors cover the history of 20th-century intelligence gathering, then recount the long, discouraging saga of the U.S. government's invasions of its citizens' privacy. In World War II, census data were used illegally to round up Japanese Americans. In the 1950s and '60s, the CIA read private mail, and in the 1970s, it monitored research requests in public libraries. The electronic spying of our security agencies is not even a law-enforcement bargainwiretapping is costly and produces arguably modest results. Issues of the 1990s include the 1992 Digital Telephone Proposal, the legal vicissitudes of "Pretty Good Privacy," and the government's attempts to require key escrow (storage of keys so that the government can crack coded messages). As in earlier times, we still see competition between the various security bureaucracies. Diffie is a distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems and the inventor of public-key cryptography (software that encodes a document with one key and deciphers it with another); Landau is a research associate professor in the department of computer science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Together, they bring formidable expertise to bear on complex topics. (Feb.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Respected cryptographer Diffie and noted computer scientist Landau here examine a range of telecommunication issues ranging from individual privacy to national security. They begin with a chapter on the basics of cryptography, a system of writing messages in secured form using codes and ciphers and then move on to discuss issues of public policy, law enforcement, and civil liberties as they relate to modern communications systems. Following an enlightening discussion on wiretapping practices that describes how messages are intercepted and how agencies use the information they intercept, Diffie and Landau show why intelligence and law-enforcement agencies view cryptography in communications as a threat to their existence. They analyze the sociology of privacy, how it forms the underpinnings of a democratic society, and what happens when it is lost. The authors conclude by arguing that if we are to retain privacy in communicating with each other, we must build the means of protecting that privacy into our present communication systems. A call to arms for removing restrictions to such secure communications systems, this is an important and timely work for most libraries.Joe J. Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago
A remarkable blend of technical expertise, historical analysis, and provocative policy argument. This is an indispensable book for anyone hoping to get to the bottom of the disputes over cryptography, computer security, privacy, and wiretapping that currently divide the law enforcement, civil liberties, and high tech communities. -- Kenneth W. Dam, University of Chicago
The wealth of information provided, both in the text and the notes, on the regulations, laws and jurisprudence dealing with encryption, wiretapping and privacy make this an important reference book....I found many enlightening
anecdotes and behind-the-scenes references with which I was not familiar....Overall this is a well-researched and fascinating study.
The Law and Politics Book Review
"[A] wise, meticulously researched guide..."
London Review ofBooks
"Should be required reading for any computing student at any level." Harold Thimbleby
"The book details numerous privacy issues, from personal privacy to national security.... A welcome surprise is that the book often reads like a Tom Clancy novel, interwoven as it is with episodes of domestic and international intrigue... A timely and important book." BenRothke
A well-researched and fascinating study.
Law and Politics Review - Lawrence Rothstein
[A] wise, meticulously researched guide...
An incredibly comprehensive insight into the world of encryption and wiretaps, its political machinations, legal aspects, technologies, vulnerabilities, costs, limitations, and near-ubiquity.
Security Management - G. Ernest Govea
Diffie and Landau deserve a large audience. Their lucid exposition adds valuable context to debates that for too long have been abstract.
The American Prospect - Aziz Huq
Should be required reading for any computing student at any level.
New Scientist - Harold Thimbleby
The book details numerous privacy issues, from personal privacy to national security.... A welcome surprise is that the book often reads like a Tom Clancy novel, interwoven as it is with episodes of domestic and international intrigue.... A timely and important book.
Security Management - Ben Rothke
A compact and intelligible guide to both the technical and the political issues.
The Sciences - Laurence A. Marschall
A superb and timely introduction to a subject of enormous importance for scholars and citizens alike.