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encryption

This tag is associated with 11 posts

Ornament and crime

The Austrian architect Adolf Loos (1870-1933) wrote Ornament and Crime. It is a celebrated polemic against the superfluity of ornament in the modern industrial age: “not only is ornament produced by criminals but also a crime is committed through the fact that ornament inflicts serious injury on people’s health, on the national budget and hence … Continue reading

Steganography for architects

Steganography is hiding one picture (a secret or data) inside another (a host or carrier) image. As with cryptography in general, there are several reasons someone might want to hide content in this way. The hidden image could serve as a digital watermark. That’s to assert your claim on a picture. If someone copies it … Continue reading

Crypto-sceptics

Encryption is an unfortunate necessity to keep our personal information and communications private. While we ponder whether it’s safe or not to Zoom it’s worth reflecting on encryption’s negatives. Critic Shoshana Zuboff writes “encryption is the only positive action left to discuss when we sit around the dinner table and casually ponder how to hide from … Continue reading

Living with virions [and Ro]

Smartphones can’t yet take your temperature and diagnose if you are carrying an infection. But developers are designing smartphone apps to trace if you’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. The most promising contact tracing apps enable smartphones to exchange short encrypted messages when they are within range of one another. That happens … Continue reading

Sociable encryption: The secret of the five keys

Will encryption save us? Social psychologist Shoshana Zuboff explains in detail the methods employed by Google and other digital giants to track our clicks, sell our data, and auction targeted advertising slots to monetise our private on-screen experiences. Our online behaviour is the resource. We are the product, not the consumer. Google’s clients are advertisers … Continue reading

Hacking the city of the future

What happens when hackers get hacked? The headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) is located between the cities of Washington and Baltimore. Amongst its many operations the NSA develops hacking tools for spying on other countries. But some of these tools leaked out, and earlier this year were turned on the city of … Continue reading

No interpreter required

If only people speaking different languages could communicate without the need of an interpreter. I’m thinking of the Trump-Putin encounters with translators present. Only unscrupulous leaders would bar their translators from disclosing to other trusted officials what was said. But I’m also thinking of Leon Battista Alberti’s justification of his cipher technique, which was to … Continue reading

The memory wheel

By most accounts, at least in Europe, the Gutenberg printing press ushered in a revolution. Printing firms would deploy individual, durable typographic elements (letters and punctuation marks) manufactured in metal and arrange them in rows to produce a page of text, the inked imprint of which was transferred to sheets of paper, over and over … Continue reading

Architecture and espionage

The Spy Museum near Potsdamer Platz in Berlin features cumbersome cold-war surveillance and bugging devices, and retells the story of spying and secret communications dating back to Ancient Egypt. Architecture is always there as a stage setting for covert operations. After all, spies inhabit the shadows. I recall from previous reading that Odysseus disguised himself … Continue reading

Encrypted city

Urban metaphors are powerful in the world of computing. The reverse is also true. Computing brings metaphors to bear on how we think of cities — as flows of data, networks, circuits, grids and an Internet of things, as if cities are made up of bits, memories (RAM), sensors, actuators, and with communication systems, inputs, … Continue reading

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