Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

NSF WATCH Talk- The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work

March 22nd, 2016 / in NSF, Research News / by Helen Wright

rogawayThe next WATCH talk, called The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work is Thursday, March 24, 2016 from Noon-1pm EDT.

The presenter will be Phillip Rogaway, professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Davis. Rogaway studied cryptography at MIT (1991), then worked as a security architect for IBM before joining the faculty at the University of California, Davis in 1994. Co-inventor of “practice-oriented provable security,” Rogaway’s work seeks to meld cryptographic theory and cryptographic practice in a mutually beneficial way.


Cryptography rearranges power: it configures who can do what, from what. This makes cryptography an inherently political tool, and it confers on the field an intrinsically moral dimension. The Snowden revelations motivate a reassessment of the political and moral positioning of cryptography. They lead one to ask if my community’s inability to effectively address mass surveillance constitutes a failure of our field. I believe that it does. I call for a community-wide effort to develop more effective means to resist mass surveillance. I plead for a reinvention of our disciplinary culture to attend not only to puzzles and math, but, also, to the societal implications of our work.

The talk will be held in Room 110 at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA. No RSVP is necessary, and no visitor badges are required. It will also be webcast; you can register here

NSF WATCH Talk- The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work