Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption

Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption

This book discusses the social function of privacy, how it underlies a democratic society, and what happens when it is lost. This updated edition covers recent controversies over NSA spying and other government threats to communications privacy.

Publication date: 01 Feb 2010

ISBN-10: n/a

ISBN-13: 9780262514002

Paperback: 495 pages

Views: 1,978

Type: Book

Publisher: The MIT Press

License: Standard Copyright License

Post time: 15 Nov 2016 12:00:00

Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption

Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption This book discusses the social function of privacy, how it underlies a democratic society, and what happens when it is lost. This updated edition covers recent controversies over NSA spying and other government threats to communications privacy.
Tag(s): Cryptography Hackers and Computer Philosophy
Publication date: 01 Feb 2010
ISBN-10: n/a
ISBN-13: 9780262514002
Paperback: 495 pages
Views: 1,978
Document Type: Book
Publisher: The MIT Press
License: Standard Copyright License
Post time: 15 Nov 2016 12:00:00
From the Overview:
Telecommunication has never been perfectly secure. The Cold War culture of recording devices in telephone receivers and bugged embassy offices has been succeeded by a post-9/11 world of NSA wiretaps and demands for data retention. Although the 1990s battle for individual and commercial freedom to use cryptography was won, growth in the use of cryptography has been slow. Meanwhile, regulations requiring that the computer and communication industries build spying into their systems for government convenience have increased rapidly. The application of the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act has expanded beyond the intent of Congress to apply to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other modern data services; attempts are being made to require ISPs to retain their data for years in case the government wants it; and data mining techniques developed for commercial marketing applications are being applied to widespread surveillance of the population.

In Privacy on the Line, Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau strip away the hype surrounding the policy debate over privacy to examine the national security, law enforcement, commercial, and civil liberties issues. They discuss the social function of privacy, how it underlies a democratic society, and what happens when it is lost. This updated and expanded edition revises their original—and prescient—discussions of both policy and technology in light of recent controversies over NSA spying and other government threats to communications privacy.

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About The Author(s)


Whitfield Diffie, the inventor of public-key cryptography, is Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway College at the University of London.

Whitfield Diffie

Whitfield Diffie, the inventor of public-key cryptography, is Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway College at the University of London.


Susan Landau is a privacy analyst at Google. She was previously a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems, and has been a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and at Wesleyan University. Landau has been a Guggenheim fellow, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and is a fellow of the American Association for the advancement of Science and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Susan Landau

Susan Landau is a privacy analyst at Google. She was previously a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems, and has been a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and at Wesleyan University. Landau has been a Guggenheim fellow, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and is a fellow of the American Association for the advancement of Science and the Association for Computing Machinery.


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