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WATCH - The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work

About the series


Cryptography rearranges power: it configures who can do

what, from what. This makes cryptography an inherently political tool,

and it confers on the field an intrinsically moral dimension. The Snowden

revelations motivate a reassessment of the political and moral positioning

of cryptography. They lead one to ask if my community's inability to effectively

address mass surveillance constitutes a failure of our field. I believe that

it does. I call for a community-wide effort to develop more effective means

to resist mass surveillance. I plead for a reinvention of our disciplinary

culture to attend not only to puzzles and math, but, also, to the societal

implications of our work.


Phillip Rogaway studied cryptography at MIT (1991), then worked as a security

architect for IBM before joining the faculty at the University of California,

Davis in 1994. Co-inventor of “practice-oriented provable security,” Rogaway’s

work seeks to meld cryptographic theory and cryptographic practice in a

mutually beneficial way.


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