Crypto War I: Birth of Public Key Cryptography

By xuanling11 | Crypto Learning | 12 Sep 2021

There were 3 crypto wars in the past 50 years. What wars you may wonder? The scale of wars is so small and so secret that the public may not even be aware. I will show some interesting facts about those crypto wars and show how the internet today is evolving differently than the previous generations imagined.


The 70s the pre-internet era

The official date of birth for the internet is 1986. However, the premature version of the internet or node-to-node technology was invented in the 50s and had been running between university systems for about 2 decades already.


Researchers were the first to involve “the internet” technology and had already developed concerns about the future.


How surveillance programs worked before the internet 

Surveillance was a costly and difficult task before the internet. It is economically infeasible to run a program to spy on all citizens in the nation.


Surveillance nowadays 

Any tech company can potentially spy on everyone. Think about Google who has all your personal information in order to “register” an email account. They can easily create a fold for you and collect information about you!


70s vision 

Dated back to 50 years ago, people may think of the internet as a public communication forum. But no one will easily give out their privacy to others easily if one doesn’t even meet another person. How I trust others by giving them my private information.


Social media nowadays 

People literally give out their privacy through the internet whether being forced to or voluntarily. Social media companies siphon so much data that they need a machine-human to work with a.k.a Artificial Intelligence. Surveillance is so easy from individual people to corporations to governments. Data is so public and so easy to access.


How we become so stupid 

If researchers would time travel into the 21st century and see the social media apps, they would probably drop their jaws. 


Crypto war I

This is not traditional warfare but a movement about security and privacy. After the invention of public-key cryptography, one can send their communications through the public domain without revealing themselves and require a compatible private key to decrypt the information they received.


Why war then? 

The government thinks encryption communication is dangerous and needs to be regulated. They issued a government-accredited data encryption standard (DES) to specifically ask for a back door key to unlock the encryption communication. This makes public key cryptography useless.

But my privacy is my human right 

Not really, at least in the United States, the Fourth Amendment did not expressly call out “privacy”. However, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from the United Nation did mention privacy as a fundamental human right.


The war briefly ended in 1981

It turned out many people do not care and they just use the telephone to communicate the majority of the time. The debate was put off. But it became the trigger for the crypto war II in the 90s and the birth of cypherpunk and later the Bitcoin.

Why should you care?

Cryptocurrency isn’t something a mysterious person created just for fun to destroy the economic system or some speculated assets for an insurance policy. It took several generations of researchers and thinkers by sacrificing their time or possibly their freedoms to exchange the existence of their usage. Many people may not be aware or forget about the short history of how cryptography is a core technology to prevent crypto from being censored by the government.


In conclusion 

History may repeat itself as there were already 3 wars of crypto and the fourth is just beginning. 


Of course, this may just be science fiction I wrote with my crazy delusional thoughts as usual!


I will finish parts 2, 3, and possibly 4. Stay tuned!

Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

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Disclosure: The article was written by a delusional author who is possibly a nut job without any questions whatsoever about expertise in the subject matters. You should not believe any words this author wrote or you may experience similar symptoms or even possibly become a nut job.

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