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W.Diffie on RSA patent
Hello, I asked W.Diffie (cryptographer celebrity!) about the RSA patent
a long time ago, and I thought everyone here would be interested in
what he had to say on the subject. I was curious about a story I heard
about the NSA suppressing some patent at first. I went to a lecture by
an ethics professor once in Nebraska and she talked about how some
academic researcher had got an application for a patent back rejected,
with no explanation, and that after an extremely long battle, the poor
scientist discovered the NSA was to blame.
The lecturer wasn't specific about the case but used it as an example
in talking about the relation of government to science and the research
establishment and the possibility of censorship. The scientist had
discovered some sensitive cryptographic secret, apparently, and the NSA
was spooked by it (hee, hee, very punny!). I asked P.Zimmermann about
this and he seemed to think the story was about the RSA patent.
I thought this was all documented in the NYT. Does anyone have the
article? Anyway, Mr.Diffie says (see below) that nothing sinister
happened at the patent office regarding the RSA patent. I would like to
hear of any other patents that were suppressed by the NSA hiding behind
the patent office. I mean, this professor was definitely not making up
a story! She gave me the NYT reference but I think I accidentally threw
out the paper I wrote it on. Does anyone have the reference? I think it
happened in '78.
Also, If W.Diffie is listening (he told me on the phone he subscribes
to the list) could you get in touch with me? I haven't been able to get
any response to my email. Also, it seems you have more than one email
address at Sun, and I'm confused about which to use (my mail to one
given to me by J.Gilmore bounced).