Why Encryption is Important
Encryption serves as an unseen workhorse beneath the fabric of our electronic society. Most go about their daily routines unaware of the role encryption plays in even the most common of activities. A conversation on your cell phone for instance. Or perhaps withdrawing some cash from a local ATM. These tasks may seem simple enough, but absent the protection offered by encryption, they would function drastically different or perhaps not be available at all.
Encryption serves us on a much larger scale as well. Beyond our daily transactions and communications, business and commerce rely on encryption to ensure their activities run smoothly. Their reliance goes beyond just e-commerce, as encryption serves to protect their valuable information from potentially being stolen or altered. The ease with which they can now process information, both on financial, personnel, or product, has all been aided by the protections offered by encryption.
Most critical of all, at least in terms of the development of encryption technologies, is the use in the military and national security. From protecting our own mission critical and top secret information, encryption protects both our military personel and the civilian population by making sure our most critical information remains a secret. On the other hand, encryption can be used by enemies such as easily as by us, so it is important to remain ahead of the curve in terms of encryption technology.
Whether for security, commerce, or personal privacy, the role of encryption in our lives has grown at an incredible pace.
Peter Ludlow ed., Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias, MIT Press, 2001.
E. John Park, Protecting the Core Values of the FIrst Amendment in an Age of New Technologies: Scientific Expression vs. National Security 2 Va. J.L. & Tech. 3 (1997).