Telecommunication has never been perfectly secure. The Cold War culture of recording devices in telephone receivers and bugged embassy offices has been succeeded by a post-9/11 world of NSA wiretaps and demands for data retention. Although the 1990s battle for individual and commercial freedom to use cryptography was won, growth in the use of cryptography has been slow. Meanwhile, regulations requiring that the computer and communication industries build spying into their systems for government convenience have increased rapidly. The application of the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act has expanded beyond the intent of Congress to apply to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other modern data services; attempts are being made to require ISPs to retain their data for years in case the government wants it; and data mining techniques developed for commercial marketing applications are being applied to widespread surveillance of the population.
In Privacy on the Line, Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau strip away the hype surrounding the policy debate over privacy to examine the national security, law enforcement, commercial, and civil liberties issues. They discuss the social function of privacy, how it underlies a democratic society, and what happens when it is lost. This updated and expanded edition revises their original—and prescient—discussions of both policy and technology in light of recent controversies over NSA spying and other government threats to communications privacy.
About the Authors
Whitfield Diffie, the inventor of public-key cryptography, is Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway College at the Universityof London.
Susan Landau works in cybersecurity, privacy, and public policy. A former Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer, she has held visiting positions at Harvard, Cornell, and Yale, and has been a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and at Wesleyan University, as well as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard University). Landau is a coauthor of Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption (MIT Press, revised edition 2007) and the author of numerous scientific and policy papers. She is a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery and the American Association for the Advancement of Science,and was a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow.
"Given the importance of the issues, we are lucky that Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau, two of the leading experts in the areas of cryptography and security, have written in clear prose Privacy on the Line.", Alan Stone, IEEE Spectrum
"A compact and intelligible guide to both the technical and the political issues.", Laurence A. Marschall, The Sciences
"Should be required reading for any computing student at any level.", Harold Thimbleby, New Scientist
"This authoritative treatise helps unveil some of the mystery and puts contemporary freedom, privacy, and security issues in perspective."—Publishers Weekly
"[A] wise, meticulously researched guide..."—London Review of Books
"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.", Ben Rothke, Security Management
"A superb and timely introduction to a subject of enormous importance for scholars and citizens alike." , A. P. Simonds, Choice
"Diffie and Landau deserve a large audience. Their lucid exposition adds valuable context to debates that for too long have been abstract.", Aziz Huq, The American Prospect
"A well-researched and fascinating study.", Lawrence Rothstein, Law and Politics Review
"An incredibly comprehensive insight into the world of encryption and wiretaps, its political machinations, legal aspects, technologies, vulnerabilities, costs, limitations, and near-ubiquity.", G. Ernest Govea, Security Management
"[A] wise, meticulously researched guide..." London Review of Books
"Should be required reading for any computing student at any level." Harold Thimbleby New Scientist
"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." Ben Rothke Security Management
"This revised edition of Diffie and Landau's classic work brings their treatment fully up to date. Essential for anyone interested in the technology, history, and politics of communications privacy."
Ronald L. Rivest, Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
Awarded the 1998 Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communication Policy Research.