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Reflections on Ethics and Cryptography

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Maurice Chiodo.

As computers and computing, and their underlying algorithms, become more pervasive in our lives, ethical decision making is becoming ever more important in mathematics. This talk hopes to help mathematicians, as developers of these algorithms, rise to that challenge. It does so first by demonstrating how easily we fool ourselves, using a personal example where I did that when confronted with the inadequate 56-bit key size of the Data Encryption Standard (DES). It then uses another personal example, Stanford’s patent fight with RSA Data Security, to show how difficult it was for me to make ethical decisions even after I had committed never to fool myself again. The resolution of my dilemma demonstrates the value of getting input from outside parties, of lowering the bar for what constitutes unethical behavior, and of working to make society more ethical as a whole.

[This talk will be conducted via live videolink, followed by a Q+A session.]

This talk is part of the C.U. Ethics in Mathematics Society (CUEiMS) series.

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