John Paul Stevens Was a Cryptographer

I didn't know that Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens "was also a cryptographer for the Navy during World War II." He was a proponent of individual privacy.

EDITED TO ADD (8/12): More on his cryptography career.

Posted on July 19, 2019 at 6:19 AM • 9 Comments

Comments

Clive RobinsonJuly 19, 2019 9:02 AM

@ Bruce,

He was a proponent of individual privacy.

Which tells me his time as a "cryptographer for the Navy" was not wasted.

It's interesting to note just how many that have been involved with cryptography and are of a thoughtfull disposition are proponents for privacy.

BillJuly 19, 2019 10:29 AM

@Clive - Or is just that those "of a thoughtful disposition" are proponents of privacy with or without a background in cryptography?

I would like to think thoughtfulness leads to supporting privacy.

gordoJuly 19, 2019 11:28 AM

Considering the election meddling brouhahas of the last couple of years, here's something that Americans don't hear so much about, this, also, from Justice Stevens, in dissent:

"If taken seriously,” Stevens wrote in his opinion, “our colleagues’ assumption that the identity of a speaker has no relevance to the Government’s ability to regulate political speech would lead to some remarkable conclusions. … It would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans.”

https://theintercept.com/2019/07/18/john-paul-stevens-was-right-citizens-united-opened-the-door-to-foreign-money-in-u-s-elections/

I suspect that much more money was spent in this manner, on the 2016 U.S. election, than we'll ever know . . .

vas pupJuly 19, 2019 1:04 PM

That is very interesting!

Deep knowledge of math and rules of logic is very helpful and important in judge/Justice work in particular when parties try to move your decision making into emotional field or/and utilizing sophisticated tools as logical fallacies.

65535July 20, 2019 1:32 AM

@ David

Very interesting.

One line that stuck out:

"...1941, having completed the Navy’s restricted correspondence course in cryptography, I went to the Great Lakes, Naval Station..."-stationhypo

ht tps://stationhypo.com/2019/07/17/remembering-the-honorable-john-paul-stevens-justice-u-s-supreme-court-and-wwii-navy-cryptologist/

Is this "correspondence course in cryptography" comprehisive or just cryptography 101 where more complete courses will be needed to code break?

@ crypto experts

In today vast world of cryptographic science is it possible to study crypotography via a correspondence course? Does anyone have an example of a cryptographic correspondendence course?


JayJuly 21, 2019 9:08 AM

He worked in the naval SIGINT station at Pearl Harbor, doing the same sort of work as Bletchley Park. "Stanley Moe, Kimmy Lee, and I worked together around the clock for three or four days to break a new daily-changing call sign encyperment system", plus traffic analysis. His unit worked on JN-25, but not Purple.

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