Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"You're Secret's Safe," by Michael Brooks. New Scientist, 5 January 2002,pages 20-23.

This article discusses a new approach to encryption, developed by Harvardprofessor Michael Rabin. Rabin's method uses random bits from a data stream(or from several streams) in order to encrypt information. The method does notstore a key for the encryption, and hence the message cannot be decrypted,except by those who captured the random bits of data in the first place. Rabinsays he is developing a practical way to implement the scheme. Governmentagencies that try to keep tabs on new encryption methods will likely watch thisdevelopment, especially given the newfound emphasis on preventing terroristactivity.

--- Allyn Jackson