The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Author: Wayne Page 1 of 2

Important Aspects for Notetakers

During the debate, I think the most important aspect is the arguments of the pros and cons. The arguments are the basic elements in the debate; without arguments, there is not a debate to talk about. What’s more, all the examples and personal opinions are developed based on the arguments and arguments are the basic skeletons of the debate which makes them very important for notetakers. After the argument, the example is less important than it, but it is still essential to debate. Examples are the supports for the arguments which can directly show the thoughts of the debaters. Examples can be used to explain the arguments and how debaters defend their position and point out opponents’ weaknesses. What’s more, the examples can work as an explanation for the viewers who are not able to watch the whole process, which makes it important to notetakers too. Last but not least, the logic between the examples and arguments is important. Although sometimes the logic between the examples and arguments can be easily got by the viewers, the understanding between viewers and debaters may still defer. By taking several sentences of the debaters about the logic, the perplex of the viewers will be eliminated and make the debate more understandable. I think these three aspects are the points that the notetakers need to pay attention to.

Watch Out Your Personal Information

In the podcast, there is an example of that some companies use a personal picture to predict what the person looks like in the future; this event also happens in China. When I surfing online or using apps for chatting, this kind of advertisement will come up sometimes. Expect about your future appearance, there are also some advertisements about what you are going to look like when you become a soldier. These are really funny and some of my classmates played with it. Before this class, I think this event is just for having fun and never think about giving out your personal information. Although I have not played it before, thinking that these companies may use our pictures to use for other purposes, I’m worried about this. These companies don’t have any income if they just do this activity, so there are possibilities that they sell personal information for money, which may cause a lot of inconvenience and troubles. What’s more, there are other fishing websites and we also need to keep out them. We need to think carefully before we click on the link or the app. To keep our own privacy, we need to pay attention to details and maybe some unfair condition is hidden inside the texts.

Teenagers should possess their privacy

Whether privacy is a “right” that children can or cannot have, or a privilege that teens must earn, adult surveillance shapes teens’ understanding of—and experience with—privacy.

Our parents are the earliest teachers of us and their actions and way of teaching really shape us the understanding of the world of privacy. Parents as the people who love us most, they really want to ensure our safety in our daily life, so they will ask what have you done today in school and questions like this. Their purpose of surveillance their children is good, but sometimes interference with their children a lot is bad for their development. Children will rely too much on their parents and tell them all the problems that they have. By doing this, their parents will intervene in their children’s lives a lot and this will result in their children lacking being independent. When we grow up and finally need to handle all the stuff by ourselves, we become less confident in finishing it by ourselves. Without parents’ surveillance, we are more likely making mistakes since we may have never learned from our own mistakes. If parents provide their children with more freedom and give them more privacy, they can explore and learn from their own experiences. With this, children will learn to handle their own privacy and their own life. Besides parents, society also should create a private environment for teenagers to live in as general.

Whether the public should possess strong encyption or not?

I think the general public should hold strong encryption, even though the criminals will also get it. First, although the criminals will possess a strong encryption method, the profits of the general public are more important. Among the general public, the numbers of the criminal are much less than the good citizens, which means the profits of ensuring the general public weights more than that of criminals. If the government provides the encryption method to the public, more people can be able to possess their privacy instead of affecting by the small number of criminals. Second, criminals may not even want to use this strong encryption method. For criminals, it is way safer for them to use their own encryption methods instead of something that is public. If they use the public strong encryption, their enemy the secret organizations will be able to know the methods of decrypting the message. Although the encryption is strong, it is originally produced by the secret organizations and they may hold the key unpublic. The secret organizations may not public the fact that they hold the key and deceive all other people. Thus, even if the strong encryption is public to all of us, the criminals may not choose to use this method to encrypt their message. All these reasons together, it shows the general public should hold the strong encryption for privacy.

Importance of Personal Privacy

People truly deserve the right to encrypt their messages in order to guarantee their privacy. Private is an important part of normal citizens. These citizens behave well and obey the laws, so they deserve the right to keep their privacy. Sending email is what people will almost do every day, which means this is a basic event in our lives. If this can not be realized, the trust between each other will collapse since everyone is under the exposure. What’s more, e-mail makes communication between people easier and more efficient than before. If there is no privacy in sending e-mail, there will be fewer people using this tool. The technology needs to develop, but it must be build based on people’s requirements. Privacy must be one of these requirements and it is in a high position. If people cannot possess their basic demand, people will not be intended for supporting or using this technology. Privacy also provides the feeling of being safe. Without safety, there will be more chaos in society since they are always watched by others and this creates the emotion of fear. In order to gain freedom back again, people may choose different ways to protest, so chaos will be produced. If we cannot have the method encrypted our messages, the company should do that for us and be responsible for their customs since it is we who use the app so that they can make money.

Importance of Code Breakers in WW2

Sentences in the chapter directly shows how important the codebreaking is. It is said that “it was a grim time, Midway or no Midway.” What’s more, John Redman said that “the work the women are now doing is too important to the war effort to risk a period of absence and disorganization.” (Liza Mundy, Code Girls) These two sentences show that without knowing the plain text there is no way to know the enemies’ strategies and women as code breakers are important forces in the war. If there are not many code breakers work days by days, the battle will be harder for the allies because of no advantages. At that time, Germany’s Lightning War and Japanese’s navy are strong. With the information of knowing where the enemies are going to attack or the position of the warships, the allies can attack with surprise to gain advantages. However, this needed the plaintext as a prerequisite. For America, the Naval Communications Annex works as an important part of the breaking code. In 1943, on February, there are about 4000 women breaking the code, which is a large amount of numbers. What’s more, they are able to keep secrets in their daily life. When others test them in daily life, the women do not easily tell about the secrets about their organizations. The ability of keeping secrets from enemies work as the basis of winning the war.

About the Podcast of VIC Cipher

In the podcast of the VIC Cipher, I find that the producer uses appropriate background music in different scenarios. It really creates the mood of the text and let the audience experience the historical content vividly. When she mentioned about the dropping of the coin, she actually played that sound of dropping coins. This bring the audience directly to the scenario and make audiences curious about the plot of this event. Also, she used a man’s voice to reproduce when the FBI counts the number on the photo. With these setoffs, she makes her podcast interesting and fascinating. What’s more, she chooses a very interesting story about cryptography since the story begins with a coin. It is very unusual and very intriguing. She uses a very unusual beginning of her podcast. It is hard to believe the coin can lead to cryptography, so her beginning draws my attention on her podcast. I get to know a good beginning is helpful to my own podcast. In my podcast, I think I need to find an interesting topic and write an intriguing beginning. Also, I need to make my podcast fluently for the audience to listen to. I also find out we need a good source for our topic which can help building the podcast.

Admiral Hall’s Decision

The action of Admiral Hall is unethical. When the Room 40 deciphered Zimmerman telegram, Admiral Hall got to know how important this information was and the greatness of deciphering enemy’s ciphertext. He got to know that Germany will begin his plan in two weeks, but he chose not to tell America immediately. However, when the allies wanted America to join the war, Admiral Hall had to tell America this information. Hall did not want to provide Zimmerman telegram to America, but he finally did, so why didn’t tell America earlier? Hall could evaluate the cause and effect or ask for the intention of America earlier. Admiral Hall made a decision that made no sense since his wish of not letting Germany know they has deciphered the text is disclosed finally. He used the hand of Mexicans to try to hide this information, but he could choose to do this as soon as he got the decipher text. Hall made a decision that may cause more problems. The Zimmerman telegram provided the information that the Germany will initiate the attack in two weeks, but to be prepared for the attack, America needs more time. Two weeks are short but still valuable, but Hall’s decision shorten this time and may cause more casualties. Thus, the decision of Admiral Hall is unethical.

Can panopticon works as a good metaphor?

I do not agree with Benjamen Walker argument: “the Panopticon is a terrible metaphor”. Walker argues that there are many companies may have ability to surveillance and these companies can work as a better metaphor for the surveillance. However, I think these two examples are basically same because they both suggest that people are spied without being known. The subject of the panopticon is prisoner, but the company like “yahoo” may check everyone’s email even though the person is law-abiding citizen. If the government use the panopticon as a metaphor, it can provide the citizens a suggestion that the government only uses their system to spy for terrorists. These two kinds of metaphor lead to different consequences. One may result in the protestation of the citizens for invading their personal right, but the other one may not. The word panopticon tends to provide a more positive feeling to the normal citizens that the government only surveillance bad guys. What’s more, the prisoners in the panopticon do not know they are being surveillance or not. This kind of feeling matches with the government actions that we do not know whether we are spied or not. Thus, the panopticon can work as aa good metaphor for the topic of surveillance.

Why the Great Cipher was remained unbroken for 200 years?

The first reason of the Great Cipher used was remained unbroken for 200 years is that the creative idea of replacing syllabus by different numbers. With the development of the cryptography, more and more encrypting methods are invented. This limits the thoughts of people to use previous methods to solve this new encrypted method. Also, it limits people that different alphabets are related to different numbers. It is hard for someone to come up with the idea that the numbers are representing the syllabuses of words. The second reason is that the amount of work is huge and difficult to analyze. With 587 different numbers, trying only one method without making any mistakes during the process itself is difficult to finish. For Bazeries, it takes him three years to finish decrypting the message and he is brave to try the idea of using numbers to represent the syllabus. An attempt to decrypt the method is already time-consuming and boring. Someone may have come up with the same idea with Bazeries, but the difficulty of finishing it held him back. He may mentally tell himself that this idea is impossible since no one has used that before. This thought provides him comfort for not trying the method at all. What’s more, the amount of the work requires people to be patient. Once, people get angry or bored about the decryption; he is more likely to make more mistakes. All these reasons makes the information as a secret for 200 years.

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