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    1 -----------------------------7d2aa1c302a4
    2 Content-Disposition: form-data; name="uploaded_file"; filename="C:\Documents and Settings\jmcatche\Desktop\msgs\crypto-review.txt"
    3 Content-Type: text/plain
    4 
    5 Crypto
    6 Author: Steven Levy
    7 Publisher:  Viking 
    8 ISBN:  0-670-85950-6
    9 Rating: Excellent
   10 Reviewer: topeka <topeka@catchen.org>
   11 
   12 Synopsis: This January, Steven Levy will make the next installment in 
   13 his history of the technological events  of the past quarter century.  
   14 <b>Crypto: When the Code Rebels Beat the Government</b>  is an 
   15 excellent account of the events that delivered cryptography out of the 
   16 hands of governments and the NSA and into the hands of the people 
   17 who made it happen.
   18 
   19 <p>
   20 The first time I heard the term "elegant" applied to a technical problem 
   21 was a bit of a revelation for me.  Until then, elegance, to me, was a 
   22 visual quality that could only be achieved by painters and poets.  
   23 When I began to see the elegance in solutions to technical and 
   24 mathematical problems, I was hooked into a world of intellectual 
   25 curiosity.  Cryptography immediately filled the mold of a highly 
   26 complex and technical problem with a beautiful and elegant solution 
   27 when it was first explained to me several years ago.  The idea clicked 
   28 again when I read Raymond's <a 
   29 href="http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/"> The 
   30 Cathedral and the Bazaar</a> and equated that elegance to 
   31 "scratching a particular itch".  This intellectual curiosity seems to 
   32 drive the open source community.
   33 </p>
   34 <p> 
   35 However, in 1967, when James Ellis of the secret British agency, 
   36 GCHQ, first came up with the idea of public key cryptography, his 
   37 theory was buried.  Until then, solutions to cryptographic problems 
   38 were a dirty process. If it was easy to create a cipher, than it was just 
   39 as easy to break it.  As such, Ellis's breakthrough was simply too 
   40 pretty to be trusted and as a result, it lay locked away until 1997.  <a 
   41 href="http://www.echonyc.com/~steven">Steven Levy's</a> new 
   42 book, Crypto is the story of the individuals who transformed 
   43 cryptography from a dirty art, which only the most elite governments 
   44 dabbled in, to an elegant mathematical solution available to the public 
   45 in hundreds of different forms.  It was all done by a community of 
   46 individuals who preached openness and sought out elegant solutions to 
   47 tough, technical problems.
   48 </p>
   49 <p> 
   50 Levy starts out his story in the same place as he started with an earlier 
   51 famous work, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He 
   52 narrates the story of Whitfield Diffie, the co-creator of public key 
   53 cryptography.  Starting in 1969 as Diffie sought shelter from the 
   54 Vietnam war working for a defense contractor, Levy discusses Diffie's 
   55 transformation from examining ideas about cryptography as merely a 
   56 hobby, to an all out obsession.   Diffie is transformed from a man 
   57 thinking about cryptography on the weekends to a man criss-crossing 
   58 the country in one run-down Datsun after another, searching for any 
   59 and every piece of information about cryptography. Diffie would not 
   60 broach the wall of cryptography until he was pointed to another 
   61 cryptography source in California who seemed to be investigating the 
   62 same concepts as Diffie.  Levy chronicles the fateful partnership that 
   63 occurred with Marty Hellman and the subsequent invention of public 
   64 key cryptography, at least its theory.
   65 </p>
   66 <p> 
   67 During this time period, there were few works published on the subject 
   68 of cryptography.  In fact, only government agents and a few privileged 
   69 defense contractors were able to expend meaningful resources on 
   70 crypto research.  It seems that while Levy's work is a story of the 
   71 people who waged a war to bring crypto to the public, it is also the 
   72 story of that wars' enemy, the National Security Agency.  The 
   73 cryptography bureaucracy, gaining most of its resources during the 
   74 Second World War, had built quite a palace around anything that 
   75 involved codes.  In the years to come, the NSA would fiercely defend 
   76 its position of strength.  From its early attempts to classify David 
   77 Kahn's famous work, <I>The Codebeakers</I>, to its involvement in 
   78 the creation of the Digital Encryption Standard and its invention of the 
   79 Clipper Chip. As <I>Crypto</I> defines it, the spooks were able to 
   80 keep their lock on cryptography by invoking a mentality of "if only 
   81 you knew what I know..." in classified briefings to politicians and 
   82 contract negotiations with defense contractors like IBM.  What the 
   83 NSA never expected, was for anyone to try and find out what it was 
   84 that they knew.  With the publishing of the Diffie-Hellman paper, 
   85 "New Directions in Cryptography," one of the NSA's most viable 
   86 opponents would begin their work where Diffie and Hellman's 
   87 theories left off, implementation.
   88 </p>
   89 <p> 
   90 Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman, through a four-month 
   91 period of intense brainstorming, would eventually implement and 
   92 patent the Diffie-Hellman concept of public key cryptography while 
   93 working as faculty at MIT.  As Levy chronicles it, the algorithm, 
   94 which would become popularly known as RSA, was named for the 
   95 order in which each mathematician gave to the project.  Rivest, who 
   96 spearheaded the search for the implementation was listed first and 
   97 Adelman, who merely poked holes in Rivest and Shamir's proposals, 
   98 had to be convinced that he had even contributed enough to the project 
   99 to be listed on the paper.  Until this point, the description of 
  100 cryptographic algorithms in scientific texts had always been done 
  101 using letters of the alphabet to depict members in a cryptographic 
  102 exchange.  The creators of RSA introduced the now famous 
  103 cryptographic characters, Alice, Bob and the unruly Eve, to describe 
  104 their new breed of algorithms.  Levy is able to highlight the mentality 
  105 of the three mathematicians, some of which at first, thought the 
  106 problem was nothing more than a clever puzzle and too grounded in 
  107 the real world to be successfully dealt with by mathematicians.   He 
  108 shows their transformation to the church of cryptography, as the 
  109 elegance of the new algorithms would prove as beautiful as the 
  110 theorems of Gauss and Euclid. 
  111 </p>
  112 <p> 
  113 The story continues with RSA Data Security, the vehicle Rivest would 
  114 use to commercialize his algorithm.  To talk about RSA Data Security 
  115 is to talk about patent use.  Both the Diffie-Hellman algorithm, as well 
  116 as RSA, were actually patented by Stanford University and MIT, 
  117 respectively.  When the patents were granted, those Universities then 
  118 had the option to either free the patents or restrict them.  As history has 
  119 painfully shown, they did not choose to free them.  RSA Data security 
  120 was built on this decision -- an MIT patent.  It was sometimes difficult 
  121 to read this section of the book with the same exuberance that Levy 
  122 writes about it.  Nonetheless, it is a reminder of the state of our 
  123 intellectual property laws today in the United States.
  124 </p>
  125 <p> 
  126 Levy's narration eventually leaves the story of RSA to tell that of Phil 
  127 Zimmerman, someone who could rightly be called a crypto-anarchist.  
  128 Once again we are treated to an in depth discussion of the motivation 
  129 that created <a href="http://www.pgpi.org/">Pretty Good Privacy</a>.  
  130 Levy contrasts the use of legal patents by RSA Data Security to bring 
  131 encryption to the masses, to the complete ignorance of them by 
  132 Zimmerman in his creation of PGP to achieve the same goal.  
  133 </p>
  134 <p> 
  135 Finally, in my favorite section of the book, Levy discusses the 
  136 controversy that surrounded a device known as the Clipper Chip.  It 
  137 was originally invented by the NSA as a complete key-escrow system, 
  138 named the Capstone Chip.  Later, as AT&T attempted to market the 
  139 first encrypted telephone device, the Capstone chip became the Clipper 
  140 Chip as the FBI and other Executive branch officers rushed to 
  141 implement a brain-dead subset of the original system before the AT&T 
  142 device made it to market.  An entirely amusing fiasco, Levy lays the 
  143 entire story out from beginning to end. 
  144 </p>
  145 <p> 
  146 Lastly, includes an epilogue telling the story of the British agents at 
  147 GHCQ, who beat Whitfield-Diffie and RSA  a story that the GCHQ 
  148 refused to let surface until the mid 1990s.
  149 </p>
  150 <p> 
  151 Levy first began writing about cryptography, and the people involved 
  152 in the movement in the early 1990's.  Several of the pieces he wrote 
  153 for Wired magazine served as a basis for this work.   If you would like 
  154 a taste of the writing that eventually became Crypto, take a look at the 
  155 following:
  156 <ul>
  157 <li><a 
  158 href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.02/crypto.rebels.html"> 
  159 Crypto Rebels</a></li>
  160 <li><a 
  161 href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.06/anonymous.2.html"> 
  162 Anonymously Yours  How to Launder Your Email</a></li>
  163 <li><a 
  164 href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.11/diffie.html">Prophet 
  165 of Privacy</a></li>
  166 <li><a 
  167 href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.12/emoney.html">E-
  168 Money (That's What I Want)</a>.</li>
  169 </ul>
  170 </p>
  171 <p> 
  172 Levy tells a story about people.  If you are looking for a technical 
  173 discussion of the different aspects of cryptography then you would be 
  174 better off with Schneier's <I>Applied Cryptography</I> or Singh's 
  175 <I>The Code Book</I>.  However, to understand the freedom that 
  176 cryptographic technologies bring us, we must understand the history 
  177 that it stands on.   This is what Levy provides.  A comprehensive 
  178 history of the events that took cryptography out of the hands of the 
  179 NSA and into the hands of political dissidents, CEO's, Nazi's, you and 
  180 me (not to mention mozilla, pgp, ssh, and gpg among others).   
  181 </p>
  182 <p> 
  183 Crypto will be published in January, 2001.  Orders are being taken 
  184 now at most online booksellers.
  185 </p>
  186 
  187 -----------------------------7d2aa1c302a4
  188 Content-Disposition: form-data; name="uploaded_file2"; filename="C:\Documents and Settings\jmcatche\Desktop\msgs\webbug.txt"
  189 Content-Type: text/plain
  190 
  191 Hello Everyone,
  192 
  193 I am pleased to introduce to you, the Webbug Mailing List.
  194 
  195 --What is the Webbug mailing list?--
  196 
  197 The idea of the Webbug list is as follows:
  198 
  199 *Be as public as possible about the need for privacy.*
  200 
  201 The webbug mailing list is a proof-of-concept list that aims to illustrate
  202 the ability to track your activities on the Internet. Specifically, it aims
  203 to show how a third party can monitor your email, knowing what messages you
  204 read, when you read them and the IP address with which you are logged onto
  205 the Internet.
  206 
  207 The Webbug mailing list aims to provide a forum to discuss all thing 
  208 relating to privacy and the protection thereof.  Its mission is to do
  209 this while serving as a case in point as why privacy should be protected.
  210 
  211 The Webbug mailing list tracks every email sent through the list, including
  212 who read each message and when they read it. This information is then
  213 placed on the Webbug web site for everyone to see. The list accomplishes
  214 this feat through the use of, you guessed it, webbugs. If you don't know
  215 what a webbug is, goto the mailing list homepage, where it is explained in
  216 more detail: http://topeka.dyndns.org/privacy/.
  217 
  218 In short however, a webbug is a 1 pixel x 1 pixel invisible image that is 
  219 embedded in HTML email.  HTML email has become popular in the past two
  220 years as it allows people to send formatted emails (including colored text,
  221 bold fonts, etc.). 
  222 
  223 It has become popular for large Internet companies to embed these bugs into
  224 their free email services, so that they may collect demographic information
  225 and sell it. One company that has engaged heavily in this process is,
  226 Yahoo! and its sister site, Yahoo! Groups (free mailing lists).
  227 
  228 The Webbug mailing list, being primarily a teaching tool, is overt about
  229 its use of bugs, and instead of using invisible bugs, it uses large,
  230 dynamically- generated images that show exactly what information was
  231 harvested from you.
  232 
  233 This contortion of HTML email represents a significant privacy problem as
  234 it becomes easy to track Internet email users. In fact, by combining data
  235 collected from webbugs, with a few other pieces of information, it is easy
  236 to achieve a high level of surveillance on an individual (which would
  237 normally require a court order).  See the website for more information.
  238 
  239 --Please Subscribe--
  240 
  241 Consider this email an invitation to join the Webbug mailing list. There is
  242 a lot more information about the subject on the webbug homepage:
  243 http://topeka.dyndns.org/privacy. You can also subscribe there.
  244 
  245 
  246 Sincerely,
  247 
  248 julian catchen 
  249 
  250 
  251 The webbug mailing list is an original project, that I have been working on
  252 for several weeks. The code for the programs that do this is also available
  253 on the site.
  254 
  255 Lastly, you need HTML mail for the webbug system to work properly. 
  256 If you only have text email, you will still get all the messages, but you
  257 will not be "bugged".  
  258 
  259 
  260 To: psustar@yahoogroups.com
  261 From: julian@catchen.org
  262 Subject: A New Mailling List on Privacy
  263 Cc: 
  264 
  265 
  266 
  267 Hello Everyone,
  268 
  269 As a follow-up to the messages I posted about HTML mail and proprietary file-
  270 formats, I am pleased to introduce to you, the Webbug Mailing List.
  271 
  272 --What is the Webbug mailing list?--
  273 
  274 The idea of the Webbug list is as follows:
  275 
  276 *Be as public as possible about the need for privacy.*
  277 
  278 The webbug mailing list is a proof-of-concept list that aims to illustrate
  279 the ability to track your activities on the Internet. Specifically, it aims
  280 to show how a third party can monitor your email, knowing what messages you
  281 read, when you read them and the IP address with which you are logged onto
  282 the Internet.
  283 
  284 The Webbug mailing list aims to provide a forum to discuss all things 
  285 relating to privacy and the protection thereof.  This includes, privacy in 
  286 our medical and school records, in our homes, and of course, on the 
  287 Internet.  We hope to provide a source of information as to how to protect 
  288 yourself, a forum to share experiences as well as news and issues on the 
  289 subject.
  290 
  291 Its mission is to do this while serving as a case in point as why privacy 
  292 should be protected.
  293 
  294 The Webbug mailing list tracks every email sent through the list, including
  295 who read each message and when they read it. This information is then
  296 placed on the Webbug web site for everyone to see. The list accomplishes
  297 this feat through the use of, you guessed it, webbugs. If you don't know
  298 what a webbug is, goto the mailing list homepage, where it is explained in
  299 more detail: http://topeka.dyndns.org/privacy/.
  300 
  301 In short however, a webbug is a 1 pixel x 1 pixel invisible image that is 
  302 embedded in HTML email.  HTML email has become popular in the past two
  303 years as it allows people to send formatted emails (including colored text,
  304 bold fonts, etc.). 
  305 
  306 It has become popular for large Internet companies to embed these bugs into
  307 their free email services, so that they may collect demographic information
  308 and sell it. One company that has engaged heavily in this process is,
  309 Yahoo! and its sister site, Yahoo! Groups (free mailing lists).
  310 
  311 The Webbug mailing list, being primarily a teaching tool, is overt about
  312 its use of bugs, and instead of using invisible bugs, it uses large,
  313 dynamically- generated images that show exactly what information was
  314 harvested from you.
  315 
  316 This contortion of HTML email represents a significant privacy problem as
  317 it becomes easy to track Internet email users. In fact, by combining data
  318 collected from webbugs, with a few other pieces of information, it is easy
  319 to achieve a high level of surveillance on an individual (which would
  320 normally require a court order).  See the website for more information.
  321 
  322 --Please Subscribe--
  323 
  324 Consider this email an invitation to join the Webbug mailing list. There is
  325 a lot more information about the subject on the webbug homepage:
  326 http://topeka.dyndns.org/privacy. You can also subscribe there.
  327 
  328 
  329 Sincerely,
  330 
  331 julian catchen 
  332 
  333 
  334 The webbug mailing list is an original project, that I have been working on
  335 for several weeks. The code for the programs that do this is also available
  336 on the site.
  337 
  338 Lastly, you need HTML mail for the webbug system to work properly. 
  339 If you only have text email, you will still get all the messages, but you
  340 will not be "bugged".  
  341 
  342 -----------------------------7d2aa1c302a4--