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The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work
Phillip Rogaway, University of California, Davis
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 our 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.
Phil is a Computer Science professor at the University of California, Davis. He studied cryptography at MIT (1991), then worked as a security architect for IBM before joining UCD 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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