Skip navigation

Whitfield Diffie

Whitfield Diffie, the inventor of public-key cryptography, is Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway College at the University

of London.

Titles by This Author

The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption

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 Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption

Telecommunication has never been perfectly secure, as a Cold War culture of wiretaps and international spying taught us. Yet many of us still take our privacy for granted, even as we become more reliant than ever on telephones, computer networks, and electronic transactions of all kinds. Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau argue that if we are to retain the privacy that characterized face-to-face relationships in the past, we must build the means of protecting that privacy into our communication systems.