Thesis Title

Perspectives on Cryptography: an Analysis of U.S. Policy Over the Enigmatic Science and Its Impact on National Security

Date of Graduation

Summer 1999


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Jack Crouch


This thesis is an examination of cryptography development in the United States and the implications of the emerging policy over matters of security and public concerns. The era containing the exclusive applications of this science within the government is rapidly diminishing, primarily due to technological innovations. The continuous need for military security is presently complemented by the need to determine and balance the benefits of encryption with aspects that deal with economic development and privacy rights. The focus of this assessment falls on the undetermined extent of the evolving compromise between the conflicting perspectives that include intelligence and law enforcement concerns as well as commercial trends and individual rights. The thesis will clarify the arguments behind the government's persistence in regulating the availability of strong encryption products and the reasoning for presenting the key escrow approach as a compromise that will express the interests of all sectors involved. Since technological progress is considered an irreversible process, the repercussions of the encryption debate in the United States will have both a domestic and international impact on communications security.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


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