Computer Science 007
Secrets and Promises

Essay Assignment
Out : November 22, 3:00 pm 1996
Due : December 6, 5:00 pm 1996

Choose one of the following propositions. Write a 3-to-5-page paper arguing your position, for or against the given proposition. Use ideas and/or quotations from the assigned reading to support your position. Your paper must draw on at least four different points from the assigned reading. Your paper must be typed and spell-checked. Your paper will be graded on

  • the clarity and persuasiveness of your argument,

  • your appropriate use of the reading materials in support of your argument, and

  • the quality of your writing.

Topic 1:
Existing export restrictions preventing the export of strong cryptography impose a burden on US companies that far outweighs the benefit to national security.

Topic 2:
Cryptography that is unbreakable by the government poses an intolerable risk to public safety. The US should impose a law that cryptography is only allowed if the government is given keys. (For this topic, you might also consider the option of allowing cryptography only if the keys are limited to 40 bits. What are the implications of such a policy?)

Topic 3:
Proposed schemes for anonymous, untraceable electronic cash are unacceptable. Such a system would make tax collection impossible, would greatly hinder law enforcement, and would dangerously loosen the government's control over its currency.