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the government would not only not share its knowledge in data protection, but was now attempting to suppress information developed in the civilian sector. These actions clearly indicate that the blame for the vulnerabilities in our communication and computer rests with the government.
3. Effectiveness of Such Measures
Even if one was willing to ignore all the other objections to suppression of information, there still remained the question of whether the actions would have the desired effect of denying the results to our enemies. There is no evidence that there is significant contribution to technology transfer to our enemies by publications of basic research. Studies have shown that technology transfer to our adversaries occurs through commercial exports from both the United States, Western Europe and Japan. What little impact from publications there may be has to balanced against the obvious benefits that this nation enjoys in just about every area of technology that we choose to pursue. We are clearly the world leaders in those areas that we are equipped to conduct research in. There are areas in which, some say, we are losing our lead to, not the Soviets, but the Japanese. The decline of investment in research has been well documented. It, therefore, should not surprise anyone if we lose our lead in areas that are underfunded. Our shortcomings are not due to lack of ability. Our problems have been the lack of national leadership to reinstate the resources necessary to maintain (or regain) our technological lead.
In assessing our technological strengths and weaknesses, some comparisons are in order. Just how well are we doing compared to, say, the Soviets? It is interesting to note that in the non-defense R&D and production, we are clearly decades ahead of the Soviet Union. But when we consider nuclear weapons, government officials at the highest levels tell us that the Soviets are either equal to us (the prevailing view) or are slightly ahead. It thus appears that in an area where both we and the Soviets practice secrecy, the results are about the same! This is rather strange since one would expect that, in a field whe:e we were practicing secrecy and thus denying the Soviets the opportunity to share in our advances, we would be ahead given our overall lead in technology. This implies that if we were to impose secrecy in other areas of engineering and science then what we can expect is that we will do about as well as the Soviets. Secrecy, it seems, has only thing one in store for us: mediocrity.
It is also possible that if efforts to restrict the flow of information continue, then not only will they damage our research capability, but may very well start an "information war" with our friends.
Finally I, like many others, am concerned about the inconsistency of my government's actions. The government sells the Russians wheat to help feed them and then turns around and tells us that we must not communicate among ourselves lest we help the Russians. Apparently the government believes that it can better protect us from the Russians if it keeps the Russian stomachs full and our minds empty.
Proves. In an
George I. Davida
REPORT OF THE PUBLIC CRYPTOGRAPHY STUDY GROUP
American Council on Education
February 7, 1981
This report has been prepared by the members of the Public Cryptography Study Group.1 The Study Group was assembled by the American Council on Education (ACE) in response to a request by the National Security Agency; that agency has indicated concern that information contained in some articles in learned and professional journals and in monographs might be inimical to the national security. The Study Group held its first meeting on March 31, 1980, and transacted its business in a series of meetings through February 1981. (The membership of the Study Group is listed on page 2.)
The Study Group has recommended that a voluntary system of prior review of cryptology manuscripts be instituted on an experimental basis. While the group would prefer no such system of review, its members, with one dissent, accepted as a working premise NSA's concern that some information contained in cryptology manuscripts could be inimical to the national security of the United States and see the proposed system as a potential way to test that working premise. The group rejected a compulsory statutory solution to the perceived problem.
In assembling the Study Group, ACE sought recommendations of individuals who might participate from several professional societies and organizations. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the American Mathematical Society (AMS) the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Computer Society of the IEEE (IEEE/CS), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) made such recommendations. Although nominated by professional societies, the members served as individuals on behalf of ACE and the final report is a product of the American Council on Education.
The Study Group hopes that the recommended voluntary system will prove effective. Success, however, is dependent upon the endorsement and good faith cooperation of NSA on one side and authors, researchers, professional societies, and publishers on the other. Therefore, it is the intent of the Study Group that this report be transmitted to all relevant professional societies, as well as receiving widespread public distribution. The Study Group also recommends that a timely review be conducted concerning the operations of the recommended voluntary system, should one emerge, and that the relevant professional societies receive and record comments on such operations for use in the future review.
'This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CDP-8006675. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.