Privacy: Plural, Contextual, Contestable but not Unworkable

Phillip Rogaway

Phillip Rogaway

University of California, Davis

THURSDAY March 24th, Noon, Room 110

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Cryptography rearranges power: it configures who can do what, from what. This makes cryptography an inherently political tool, and it confers on the field an intrinsically moral dimension. The Snowden revelations motivate a reassessment of the political and moral positioning of cryptography. They lead one to ask if my community's inability to effectively address mass surveillance constitutes a failure of our field. I believe that it does. I call for a community-wide effort to develop more effective means to resist mass surveillance. I plead for a reinvention of our disciplinary culture to attend not only to puzzles and math, but, also, to the societal implications of our work.

An essay corresponding to this talk can be found at


Phillip Rogaway studied cryptography at MIT (1991), then worked as a security architect for IBM before joining the faculty at the University of California, Davis in 1994. Co-inventor of "practice-oriented provable security," Rogaway's work seeks to meld cryptographic theory and cryptographic practice in a mutually beneficial way.