Communications Surveillance: Privacy and Security at Risk

Whitfield Diffie, Susan Landau

Whitfield Diffie, Susan Landau, Communications Surveillance: Privacy and Security at Risk, Communications of the ACM, 52(11):42-47, November 2009.

We all know the scene: It is the basement of an apartment building and the lights are dim. The man is wearing a trench coat and a fedora pulled down low to hide his face. Between the hat and the coat we see headphones, and he appears to be listening intently to the output of a set of alligator clips attached to a phone line. He is a detective eavesdropping on a suspect's phone calls. This is wiretapping — as it was in the film noir era of 1930s Hollywood. It doesn't have much to do with modern electronic eavesdropping, which is about bits, packets, switches, and routers.


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