The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Author: Wayne

Privacy VS Terrorism

At the beginning of the book, when Marcus skips the school with his friends, a terrorist attack happens and the Department of the Homeland Security “arrest” them since they doubt the Marcus and their friends may take part in this serious event. Without any strong evidences, DHS asked them to provide all of their privacy in order to find out the wirepuller of this event and the methods of committing the crime. In order to gain freedom, Marcus and his friends tell all of their passwords to DHS. Finally, they (without Darryl, one of Marcus’s friends) are released by DHS, but they are under the surveillance of DHS, especially for Marcus.

This series of events that DHS has done to Marcus’s friends catches my attention. I have heard of the interrogations of some departments catches people and ask them same question over and over again even though the they are innocent. I know what the department has done is trying to reduce the terrorists and build a safer country for other citizens, but they should do these when they have enough evidences. What they are trying to solve is good for the country, but the way of approaching their goals is wrong. The secret department of every country should investigate more before suspecting. At some serious situation, catching any people that may be the terrorists as soon as possible is seemed to be efficient of not letting go the true terrorists and is easy to implement, but these secret departments can improve their way of investigating and data-mining to reduce the possibility of catching the wrong person. By improving this, there will be less complaints about their actions and more benefits to the citizens.

Can mining students’ data work?

The central argument of Morris’s essay is: although mining students’ data can not perfectly predict the campus violence and may provide issues of getting student private information without permission, this method is still helpful to reduce the possibility of school violence event. I agree with it. By surveilling student’s data on the internet, the school can both protect the student himself and the campus. First, if the school uses the data mining method to get students’ searching frequency and their comments on the social media, the school can analyze the data and find out the reasons that are responsible for the wired behavior. After this, the school can send faculty to solve the metal problems and prevent the situation become more serious. What’s more, if the school solves the students’ metal issues, it will create a healthier environment for studying. With this improvement, it can create a loop that healthier environment will lead to less mental issues. Less mental issues can lead to less campus violence. Thus, mining students’ data creates more benefits compare to doing nothing. However, school should still keep the data private instead of telling the situation to the whole faculty to prevent the violence. The school should use proper methods to solve the students’ metal issues in order to build a safer campus life.

Weak Encryption VS No Encryption

The meaning of the sentence is that the consequence which is caused by weak encryption is worse than that of no encryption. First of all, a weak encryption can be easily deciphered. Once it has been deciphered, the enemy will get to know the hiding information and know the secret between lines. In the scenario, it causes the failure of Babington’s plan and causes the death of the members and Mary Queen of Scots. Secondly, the weak encryption creates an illusory secure. This means that both Babington and Mary Queen of Scots think their plan will not be reached by their enemy. With this feeling, they just keep on using the same method without doubting the possibility of exposing information to Walsingham. Finally, weak encryption creates secrets compared to no encryption. The enemy will spend more time on decoding it in order to get to the secret and get prepared for the scheme of their enemy.

For the people who want to hide their communications, they must use strong and new cryptographic methods to keep their information from deciphering easily by their enemies. In this story, the method of using frequency of the symbols has already applied at that time. Although Babington uses new symbols and kind of different encryption, Phelippes just uses the frequency method to decipher it. The methods of encryption decide whether the secrets can be easily got by enemy or not. What’s more, the sender and the recipient need to change their encryption from time to time and they also need to make sure the person who send the message is not a spy. With all of these, the possibility of divulging a secret will decrease and creates a safer environment for transfering the secrets.

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