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Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy in the Digital Ageby Steven Levy
Synopses & Reviews
From the author who made "hackers" a household word, a groundbreaking book about the most hotly debated subject of the digital age.
Crypto is about privacy in the information age and about the nerds and visionaries who, nearly twenty years ago, predicted that the Internet's greatest virtue free access to information was also its most perilous drawback: a possible end to privacy.
Levy explores what turned out to be a decisive development in the crypto wars: the unlikely alliance between the computer geeks and big business as they fought the government's stranglehold on the keys to information in a networked world.
The players come alive here in a narrative that reads like the best of futuristic spy fiction. There is Whit Diffie, the long-haired Newton of crypto who invented the astounding "public key" solution; David Chaum, whose "anonymous digital money" actually threatened the global financial infrastructure; and "cypherpunks" like Phil Zimmermann, who freely distributed military-strength codes under the nose of the U. S. government. There is also the first behind-the-scenes account of what the secretive National Security Agency really had in mind when it created the controversial "clipper chip" and how the Clinton administration bungled the operation.
Cryptography the use of secret codes has traditionally been the province of puzzle geeks and government spies. But just in time for the Internet, which radically alters the way we share information, a band of outsiders triggered a revolution in this once-cloistered field. But this was a revolution that the government wanted to kill....
"Civilian crypto hardly existed three decades ago. Now we can't get cash from an ATM or buy something on the Net without it. To tell the story coherently is a service, and to tell it entertainingly is a favor to anyone with a stake in crypto which nowadays means all of us. Crypto is a book that needed to be written and Steven Levy has written it." Neal Stephenson, author of Cryptonomicon
Cryptography is of huge importance today as codes are used for securing the Internet, mobile phones and electronic transactions. This book traces the development of this science and describes the conflicts between those that want to keep codes weak and those who want strong codes available to all.
If you've ever made a secure purchase with your credit card over the Internet, then you have seen cryptography, or "crypto", in action. From Stephen Levy—the author who made "hackers" a household word—comes this account of a revolution that is already affecting every citizen in the twenty-first century. Crypto tells the inside story of how a group of "crypto rebels"nerds and visionaries turned freedom fightersteamed up with corporate interests to beat Big Brother and ensure our privacy on the Internet. Levy's history of one of the most controversial and important topics of the digital age reads like the best futuristic fiction.
About the Author
Steven Levy is Newsweek's chief technology writer and has been a contributing writer to Wired since its inception.
Table of Contents
Patents and Keys
The Clipper Chip
Slouching Toward Crypto
Epilogue: The Open Secret
What Our Readers Are Saying
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Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » History and Society