In the 1990’s the Internet started to take shape. But the US goverment had strict laws regulating what type of cryptography is allowed to be used online. A few brave people stood up to the government in the name of civil rights and won the right to use strong encryption. Listen to their battle and what they had to do through to accomplish this.
The Clipper Chip
This was the chip that the US government developed for people to use strong encryption. But security researcher Matt Blaze, found a vulnerability in the chip which demonstrated how weak it is to put a back door into something.
This is the computer that the EFF built to crack a DES encrypted message.
Thanks to Cindy Cohn from the EFF for joining me on this episode.
- Steven Levy’s book “Crypto”
- Steven Levy reading from his book “Crypto”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK4kFPVi8iM
- Matt Blaze Crypto Wars 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB68G8tLh38
- Executive Order 13026 https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-1996-11-19/pdf/96-29692.pdf
- Phil Zimmermann speaking at DEFCON 11 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ww8AAkWFhM
- Cindy Cohn talking more about the crypto wars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_S0ykA3W_I
- Junger vs Daley case notes https://web.archive.org/web/20060912162155/http://samsara.cwru.edu/comp_law/jvd/
- Phil Karn’s case http://www.ka9q.net/export/
- DES Cracker using Deep Crack https://w2.eff.org/Privacy/Crypto/Crypto_misc/DESCracker/HTML/19980716_eff_des_faq.html
Music in this episode: “The Loss of Blood” and “Blood Loss” by Ian Alex Mac. “Monkeys Spinning Monkeys”, “Big Mojo”, “Time Passes”, “Quinn’s Song: A New Man”, “I Feel You”, “Stoneworld Battle”, “Showdown”, “Witch Hunt”, “Despair and Triumph”, and “The Machine Thinks” by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.
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JACK: My grandfather went most of his life without using or needing encryption but now we live in a time where encryption is intertwined in almost all of our electronic communications. That shift to go from a world where everyday people didn’t use encryption at all to a world where everyone uses it and doesn’t even know it was a major transformation and there was nothing easy about it. There were powers at play that didn’t want everyday people to encrypt their messages but human rights and civil rights activists fought and fought and fought. You know the outcome of this story but you may not know what it took for us to get here. Let’s take a journey through time back to the 1990s and understand exactly what were to be known as the Crypto Wars.
JACK (INTRO): [INTRO MUSIC] This is Darknet Diaries, true stories from the dark side of the internet. I’m Jack Rhysider. [INTRO MUSIC ENDS]