Privacy What About It? ... A Comprehensive And Easy To Understand Overview Of Public Key Cryptography And The Main Tool To Apply It: Pretty Good Privacy.

5283 words - 21 pages

Privacy - what about it?Right now humankind is watching the wonder of the internet unfolding before our eyes. Never before has a medium grown and attained such a respectfull state so quickly! In five years the internet has broken its chrysalis and gained adulthood. What started out as defence network, turned into a science exchange and finally penetrated critical mass. Today the internet houses some 200 million citizens. Five years ago it sheltered 10 million. That is growth unseen of!In other words: We are breaking new ground here! Although we tend to think of the net as mature, we accept the fact that this is only the beginning. This public square that transended above mere wires long ago, continues its unheard of growthrate. Right now its a Klondike, a chaos that fluxes and tests its borders. This is the time - not later, but now - to define basic 'human rights' in electronic form.Although these 'human rights' includes other subjects they also pack the right for privacy. And this is just as important as other basic rights such as freedom of speach and the right of free assembly.You might think that the right for privacy on the net already exist, but let me disappoint you on that: It does not! And in a network that is made up of 160+ states and cultures to numourous to count it is up to outselves to ensure privacy. Because no one can guarantee it for you! Not your covernment, no free speach movement; only yourself!You might also think that you have no actual need for privacy, because you are not trying to hide something. Hey! Neither am I. Still I advocate for it! And I'll let you in on why...Sending an e-mail (or actually any electronic information, but let's just stick to the concept of a mail) across the net, you feed it to the lions. It will go through servers, not only in your as well as the receiving country, but it might take a detour and travel through another 50 countries. Along that way it visits servers that is beyond your's, your government's or any other trustworthy organization's control.If I owned a server, I might set up a scanner that scanned all mail (that is all mail) for my name. Hey! I want to know what people are saying about me, that's only natural; but it's wrong! I have no right to sneak peak through your mail, let alone your files, images, documents and so on. But I can do it anyway.So it seems that your mail is a lost case. But don't worry: There are effecive remedies!Now you might think: 'Oh. I know what this guy is talking about. I've seen the encrypt and sign icon on my mail window. I'd better start encrypting my mail then'. But I need to tell you something: That won't do you any good. Because, you see, I'm extremely interested in what people say about me, so I'll break the code (the encryption) and read it anyway.Fortunately it isn't as simple as that. But it's not only possible, it has been done! On many occasions. Just recently, a huge computer organization (never mind who), broke what is called a 56-bit...

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