I believe that the NSA was justified in limiting the strength of the Data Encryption Standard (DES) so that they would be able to decipher any message that was sent using Lucipher. Lucipher was a complicated encryption system that relied on a keyword made up of numbers. The number of possible keys and the length of time it takes to crack the cipher text are positively correlated. Therefore, when the NSA limited the number to 100,000,000,000,000,000 keys, they made it so “…no civilian organization had a computer powerful enough to check every possible key within a reasonable amount of time” (250). It only makes sense that the leading security agency of a country should be able to decipher any message sent or received along its territory. This is for the good of the country and provides protection from possible attacks or illegal operations.
I think that as long as a secure standard is in use, there should be someone overlooking this, even though I am not in favor of the “Big Brother” type of government at all. Some may argue that this limit the NSA implemented also limits the advancements that can happen in cryptography, but the present advances in cryptography are all the proof needed against this.
Simon Singh, The Code Book