Report: Cryptography

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  Cryptography and Democracy

Cryptography and democracy are clearly related to each other when we talk about teledemocracy. Many answers of civilians to certain state institutions can already be posed on the Internet. Many bureaucratic duties can be fulfilled through the Internet as well. But on February 8th 2000 the worldwide first elections on the Internet were performed. The elections themselves were nothing important, students' elections at the University of Osnabrück, Germany. But the project, called i-vote, with a preparation time of 10 months, wrote history. For a correct result, there existed several different encryption processes at the same time, like the digital signature, a blinding for anonymizing the vote and a virtual election paper that had to be encrypted as well, as simple e-mails could have been traced back.
The question whether teledemocracy can provide us with a more intensive democracy has to be answered within a different field of questions; here the question is rather about the role of cryptography in this area. The use of cryptography in teledemocracy is inevitable, but does it also re-influence cryptography? Or will it influence the different governments' laws again?

The sentence "We are committed to protecting the privacy of your personal information" that can be read as the introduction-sentence at the Free-PC-homepage (http://www.free-pc.com/privacy.tp) poses already the question on how that company can know about personal information. Soon they lift the curtain, telling us that we leave cookies visiting their website - as we do everywhere else. With that information, provided through the cookie, they try to select the appropriate advertisement-sortiment for the individual. Their line of reasoning is that individualized advertisements offer the clients the best and most interesting products without being overruled by not-interesting commercials.
But still we find ourselves overruled by the issue that someone believes to know what is good for us. And our privacy is floating away ...

Human Rights call for the right for privacy. We can go on fighting for privacy but anonymity has disappeared long ago. If we leave cookies and other data by visiting websites, we might be anything but surely not anonymous.
for more information about privacy and Human Rights see:

for re-anonymizing see:

"The fight for privacy today will always include the fight for unrestricted access to cryptography tools, for at least getting a slight chance that the buying of a book or any other small thing turns into a chain of messages for someone else's purpose, whether it might be governmental or commercial." (Cypherpunk's Manifesto)

for more information on the Cypherpunk's Manifesto see:

This year again many conferences on the topic of cryptography take place. For further information see:

browse Report:
-3   Governmental Regulations
-2   Security Measures?
-1   The Private against the Public?
0   Cryptography and Democracy
+1   A Tool for Privacy
+2   Epilogue