Code Set Up to Shield Privacy Of Cellular Calls Is Breached

  • John Markoff
  • The New York Times
  • March 19, 1997

Excerpt

A team of well-known computer security experts will announce on Thursday that they have cracked a key part of the electronic code meant to protect the privacy of calls made with the new, digital generation of cellular telephones.

...

These technologists, who planned to release their findings in a news release on Thursday, argue that the best way to insure that the strongest security codes are developed is to conduct the work in a public forum. And so they are sharply critical of the current industry standard setting process, which has made a trade secret of the underlying mathematical formulas used to create the security codes.

"Our work shows clearly why you don't do this behind closed doors," Schneier said. "I'm angry at the cell phone industry because when they changed to the new technology, they had a chance to protect privacy and they failed."

Carroll, head of the industry's privacy committee, said it planned to revise the process for reviewing proposed technical standards.

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