In the early 1990s, the first Crypto War began. With the release of the programmer Phil Zimmerman’s PGP (“Pretty Good Privacy”) encryption software in 1991, for the first time in history, anyone could encode and exchange a message that no law enforcement agency had the technical ability to intercept and decode.
Fearing that criminals would be able to hide their communications, the reaction of governments worldwide was swift. The United States, for instance, banned the export of what it deemed “strong crypto.” Early versions of Internet software such as Netscape’s Communicator browser and Lotus Notes came in two flavors: a Domestic version that supported strong 128-bit crypto and an International version that supported weak 40-bit crypto.
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