"Jean-François Blanchette has written more than the history of electronic signatures; this is a masterful account of how -- as we enter the digital age -- our ideas of authenticity remain solidly anchored in our analog past. What emerges is a gripping tale, untold so far, of high aspirations, dashed hopes, and an epic struggle. Uncovering why and how digital technologies fail to change professions and society, Burdens of Proof is a truly important book."--Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Oxford Internet Institute
"This book is a wonderful weave of social and technical analysis of the history of cryptography, unified by a passion for exploring the material nature of computers. With grace and wit, Blanchette has produced a work which makes a major contribution to our understanding of complex configurations of the virtual and the real."--Geoffrey C. Bowker, Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine
"A technology guaranteeing the authority of electronic documents would appear an essential tool of the digital age, which is why there is so much to learn from the failure to develop one. Jean-François Blanchette shows that understanding this failure requires addressing the historical evolution of contemporary cryptography and the legal concerns such a technology raises, together with a fearsome array of contextual issues ranging from state power to the materiality of mathematics. In contrast with the parochialism of much contemporary academia, Blanchette explains these events through an exemplary embrace of the requisite skills of a polymath."--Daniel Miller, Professor of Material Culture, University College London
"Throughout his discussion, Blanchette offers keen insight into the interplay between cultural presumptions and biases inherent in both cryptographic and legal cultures." -- Law Library Journal
About the Author
Jean-François Blanchette is Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.