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Perhaps of interest to locals...
EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium
Fall Quarter 1998-1999
Date: Wednesday, Dec 2, 1998
Time: 4:15-5:30 pm
Location: NEC Auditorium (B03)
Gates Computer Science Building
Internet: Live on the Net! See instructions on the Web page
Title: Cracking the Data Encryption Standard:
Technology, Design, and Politics
Speaker: John Gilmore
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
About the talk:
Sometimes it takes good engineering to straighten out twisted politics.
In 1997, working in conjunction with the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
John Gilmore decided to demonstrate this by building a custom computer
that would be able to solve the Data Encryption Standard, an encoding
scheme the United States Government had been promoting for "secure"
business and financial communications since the 1970s.
It had long been suspected the Government was pressing citizens to use
this standard because its intelligence agencies were secretly able to
decode DES-encrypted messages. It appears this theory was right.
DES *was* crackable -- easily and affordably -- which Mr. Gilmore
demonstrated in July, 1998 by using his "DES Cracker" system to solve in
less than three days a coded message that had been produced as part of a
In this presentation Mr. Gilmore will discuss the design of the DES
Cracker system and explain some of the politics surrounding the DES
Note: A full description of the DES Cracker system, including complete
hardware and software design details, appears in the book, "Cracking
DES: Secrets of Encryption Research, Wiretap Politics, & Chip Design,"
published by O'Reilly. Further details can also be found at:
About the speaker:
John Gilmore is an entrepreneur and civil libertarian. He was an early
employee of Sun Microsystems, and co-founded Cygnus Solutions, the
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Cypherpunks, and the
Internet's "alt" newsgroups. He has twenty-five years of experience in
the computer industry, including programming, hardware and software
design, management, and investment, and is a significant contributor to
the worldwide open source (free software) development effort.
Mr. Gilmore's advocacy efforts on encryption policy aim to improve
public understanding of this fundamental technology for privacy and
accountability in open societies. He led the team that built, in
conjunction with the EFF, the world's first published DES Cracker. He
is a board member of the Internet Society and the Electronic Frontier
Further background information may be found at: