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Pretty Good Privacy

Brian Rotman, 1 June 2000

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography 
by Simon Singh.
Fourth Estate, 402 pp., £16.99, September 1999, 1 85702 879 1
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In Code: A Mathematical Journey 
by Sarah Flannery.
Profile, 292 pp., £14.99, April 2000, 1 86197 222 9
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Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption 
by Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau.
MIT, 346 pp., £10.50, April 1999, 0 262 54100 9
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... if everybody has access to the information designed to encrypt it? The answer, pioneered by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman in the early 1970s, is to reject a principle of cryptography apparently so obvious as to go unchallenged until then: namely, that deciphering is the reverse of enciphering and that encryption and decryption keys are ...

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