The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work

Riad S. Wahby rsw at
Tue Dec 1 08:40:23 PST 2015

Phillip Rogaway (Professor of CS at UC Davis) has released in the
form of an essay his keynote talk from Asiacrypt. Very interesting
reflection on the politics of crypto, historically and at present.


"The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work"
Phil Rogaway

Cryptography rearranges power: it configures who can do what, from
what. This makes cryptography an inherently political tool, and it
confers on the field an intrinsically moral dimension. The Snowden
revelations motivate a reassessment of the political and moral
positioning of cryptography. They lead one to ask if our inability to
effectively address mass surveillance constitutes a failure of our
field. I believe that it does. I call for a community-wide effort to
develop more effective means to resist mass surveillance. I plea for a
reinvention of our disciplinary culture to attend not only to puzzles
and math, but, also, to the societal implications of our work.



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