History Plus Insight = Future Themes,
April 8, 2000
Nigel has given us a lovely history, and also drawn out a number of themes that have meaning for the future. For instance, the superiority of amateurs from the ham radio ranks over the so-called professional military communications personnel, in the tricky business of breaking patterns and codes; the many “human in the loop” breaks of otherwise unbreakable technical codes, from the Italians with hemorrhoids (not in the code book, spelling it each day broke the code) to the careless Russians. He also touches on security cases in both the U.S. and England. In his conclusion, one sentence jumped out at me: “The old spirit of RSS, with its emphasis on voluntary effort, has been replaced by a bureaucracy of civil servants who preferred to stifle, rather than encourage, initiative.” As the current Director of NSA has discovered, NSA today is in mental grid lock, and its culture is oppressive in the extreme.