Trading on Trust: Cryptographic Authentication and Digital Decentralization in the United States, 1968–2000
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CitationVidan, Gili. 2021. Trading on Trust: Cryptographic Authentication and Digital Decentralization in the United States, 1968–2000. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation describes the political and technical history of digital cryptographic authentication technologies in the United States in the latter decades of the twentieth century. It traces how developers of electronic authentication technologies contended with the problem of trust in economic transactions. Through a series of historical case studies, the dissertation shows how the field of public cryptography and the political project of decentralization were embedded in broader societal expectations of trust. The dissertation chronicles public debates over the development of Electronic Fund Transfers and the Data Encryption Standard in the 1970s and the Escrowed Encryption Standard and the use of digital certificates in the transactional Internet in the 1990s. The research draws on archival materials from computer scientists, policymakers, consumer and civil rights advocates, technical standards-setting bodies, and industry leaders. This work locates trust within the history of digital technologies as a shifting historical category that was remade through political and technological contestation.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368500
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