Cryptography is the use of ciphers to codify a secret or something of high secrecy. It has had a long history as there always have existed some government secrets, secret letters, secret formulae, or secret groups/ think tanks that needed to codify their information and findings. Until recent times it was classical and conventional where a pen and paper was used for cryptography. With the advent of 20th century and development of more complex mechanical and electromagnetic aid, the process became complex. The cornerstone of Cryptography has ever since been the Enigma rotor machine. The WWII was shortened and brought to a halt by the development of this machine to decipher the communication of the enemy. (2006)
There are several applications of cryptography that can be seen in our daily life and the spheres of the academic world. For example; time stamping (displays that certain document was used or delivered at a certain time), electronic money (includes the transactions that have been carried out electronically depicting the net transfer of money from one party to another), Secure Network Communications, Anonymous Remailer, disk encryption, etc, have application of cryptographic principals. (Simpson, 1997) Today it is widely used to provide secrecy to data and information. It is used by intelligence organizations, by government offices, by defense sectors or our forces to communicate or hold information. It is used commonly in business organization to secure data from foreign elements. It provides data integrity and follows the key management principle, so it comes in handy for businesses. ( Robinson, 2013)
There are several legal issues that encompass the threats to nations, breeding of spy or terrorist organizations, etc. As computers have provided an inexpensive and widespread reach to complex cryptography, many organizations can use it as a tool to work against government organization or private business. For example, a terrorist organization can communicate through encrypted messages.
The USA has faced challenges with regards to export control of cryptography. In 1996, a treaty of arms controls Wassenaar Arrangement was signed by thirty-nine countries to limit the export of ‘dual use’ technologies such as cryptography (Ranger, 2015).
In the UK, Investigatory Powers Act gives power to the authorities to force the suspects to provide them with any encryption or passwords they would like for investigation. It is criticized to be contradicting with Right to Privacy (2007).
Robinson, R. (2013). 38 A million Reasons to use Cryptography for Business. Security Intelligence.
(2006). A Brief History of Cryptography. Cypher Research Laboratories.
Ranger, S. (2015). The undercover war on your internet secrets: How online surveillance cracked our trust in the web. TechRepublic.
Simpson, S. (1997). Cryptography in Everyday Life. http://www.laits.utexas.edu/~anorman/BUS.FOR/course.mat/SSim/life.html.
(2007). UK Data Encryption Disclosure Law Takes Effect. PC World.