I enjoyed seeing Singh present arguments for both sides of the issue on if strong encryption should be available to the general public or not. One of the claims that I thought was particularly strong was the comparison of strong encryption to gloves. Singh included a quote by Ron Rivest, one of the inventors of RSA, which states, “It is poor policy to clamp down indiscriminately on a technology just because some criminals might be able to use it to their advantage. For example, any US citizen can freely buy a pair of gloves, even thought a burglar might use them to ransack a house without leaving fingerprints.” I thought this assertion brought up an excellent point: criminals can use basically any non-harmful thing to their advantage, so why outlaw said thing for every day people? In addition, guns are legal, despite them being extremely dangerous for non-criminals and criminals alike. Why would someone advocate for firearm accessibility, yet consider encryption dangerous because it could keep criminal communication secret?
Another argument I thought was compelling in support of encryption availability was the notion that businesses require strong encryption for online commerce. The Code Book was written in 1999. Today, e-commerce has reached a size far greater than Singh’s world 20 years ago. With this fact, it is more important than ever to have secure online encryption as so many purchases are done through the Internet. Consumers don’t want their credit card information stolen, and businesses don’t want their customer databases hacked. If strong encryption wasn’t available to the public, no one would want to conduct business online, which would be disastrous for today’s economy.