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Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption (MIT Press) updated and expanded edition Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262514002
ISBN-10: 0262514001
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A compact and intelligible guide to both the technical and the political issues.

(Laurence A. Marschall The Sciences)

A superb and timely introduction to a subject of enormous importance for scholars and citizens alike.

(Choice)

A well-researched and fascinating study.

(Lawrence Rothstein Law and Politics Review)

A wise, meticulously researched guide....

(London Review of Books)

An incredibly comprehensive insight into the world of encryption and wiretaps, its political machinations, legal aspects, technologies, vulnerabilities, costs, limitations, and near-ubiquity.

(G. Ernest Govea Security Management)

Diffie and Landau deserve a large audience. Their lucid exposition adds valuable context to debates that for too long have been abstract.

(Aziz Huq The American Prospect)

Should be required reading for any computing student at any level.

(Harold Thimbleby New Scientist)

The book details numerous privacy issues, from personal privacy to national security.... A welcome surprise is that the book often reads like a Tom Clancy novel, interwoven as it is with episodes of domestic and international intrigue.... A timely and important book.

(Ben Rothke Security Management)

A superb and timely introduction to a subject of enormous importance for scholars and citizens alike.

(Choice)

[A] wise, meticulously researched guide...

(London Review of Books)

About the Author

Whitfield Diffie, the inventor of public-key cryptography, is Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway College at the Universityof 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.
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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; updated and expanded edition edition (February 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262514001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262514002
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,215,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Trevis Rothwell on September 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After hearing the 2013 news reports about U.S. government surveillance, I wanted to get more informed on the issues.

I had no idea that government surveillance has been as pervasive as it is, for as long as it has been. We learn here of privacy violations starting at least in the late 1800s in the form of overreaching census taking; numerous people were arrested for refusing to answer questions that they thought were none of the government's business to be asking.

The book takes us from there through about 2005 (published in 2007), with accounts of excessive wiretapping on Martin Luther King Jr., opening the mail of private citizens, increasingly extending the reach of authorized wiretapping, attempting to learn from the public library system who might be a spy based on checking out books about science, and more.

This isn't light reading, with an immense amount of information conveyed, but if you're interested in learning more about privacy and surveillance in the United States, this is an excellent resource.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book while taking a graduate course in Cryptography for a research paper on privacy and encryption. The field is rather fascinating and this book does an excellent job of providing the whys for some of the recent legislation. Anyone who is concerned about social networking Internet sites and Internet privacy should read this book. It uses no scare tactics or big brother is watching you drama, it is based on research and facts and presents the current state of affairs in privacy in a professional manner. Whitfield Diffie has been instrumental in helping to bring the field of Cryptanalysis from a linguist-based discipline to a mathematical one (Diffie-Hellman symmetric encryption key exchange or Alice & Bob exchanging secure messages examples) and this book is a logical extension of his craft. I found it chock full of information I did not know about how the concept of privacy has evolved and with it the evolving legislation. If you are aware of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuits regarding the unethical (and for At&T unlawful) surveillance (capture of data) of American citizens and just about anyone who has a computer or a cell phone by the commiseration of NSA and At&T in San Francisco, CA, it would help if you read this book to understand how we reached these new heights in the invasion of personal privacy and introduce you to cryptography's role in it. Highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback
Unfortunately the book starts with a bad impression by confusing Constitutional Amendment IV with Article IV. After getting over the mis-impression it's clear that this is the best available on mechanics, history and politics of encryption.
The book features an expert analysis of the features and advantages of public key encryption with the politics of key escrow. In it's detailed examination of all aspects, the book considers cost/benefit analysis. Written in 1998, the book could stand updating for technology improvements and recent legislation.

I'm convinced that encryption is not necessary for law enforcement. I'm not so sure about data security. The main issue is who should handle it. D&L point out that the NSA is winning its turf war with NIST. I doubt that Apple and Google can hold their ground for very long. I'm afraid that the issue might be moot as control will inevitable accrue to the government.

This effort is as informative as possible in a book that is nearing 20 years old, a long time for the rate of today's technology development. I would be the first to read a second edition. Note: Now I understand that a second edition was published in 2007. I guess I won't be the first to read it.
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