Ross Anderson FRS FREng - Keys Under Doormats. Cambridge University Mathematics Faculty. 7/03/2017.





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Published on Aug 22, 2017

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Ross Anderson tells the story of the two crypto wars, where governments fought with the tech industry and activists for control of cryptography. From the Clipper Chip through the Snowden revelations to the Investigatory Powers Act, he describes the technology behind the policy and tells the story of how the policy evolved.

This talk was given to the Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Society in March 2017.

Audience questions have been transcribed with voices removed to protect privacy.


The Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Society exists to raise awareness among mathematicians that there may be serious and pressing ethical questions that arise when doing any mathematical work.

We bring in speakers from all around the world to address the mathematicians in Cambridge. Given our mission, we have decided to restrict ourselves to speakers who are technically trained, in mathematics, computer science, physics, engineering, or related fields. Moreover, we choose our speakers based on them satisfying at least one of the following criteria:
1. That the speaker has some direct knowledge of ethical issues that arise from the practice of mathematics, and has at some point in the past spoken out about such issues, or
2. That in the past the speaker has gone "above and beyond" their role as a technical worker, and knowingly taken some significant action based on ethical decisions which arose as part of, or stemming from, their technical work.

That is, we choose our speakers to be technically trained people who have thought and spoken about, or have taken action in some way because they saw ethical issues arising from working in mathematics and related disciplines.

We do not argue that our speakers made the right ethical choices, or the wrong ethical choices; such questions can be extremely difficult to answer and different people will come to different conclusions. We simply present our speakers as examples of people who knowingly made AN ethical observation or decision as part of their mathematical work.


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