[IWAR] Rap-sodizing about encryption

From: lcs Mixmaster Remailer (mixat_private)
Date: Sun Feb 08 1998 - 23:40:02 PST

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    Data security goes lyrical, Chris Nolan, (c) 1998 SJ Mercury News (Jan 12)
    Bidzos' Rap
    Y'all on the net
    Y'll wild and free
    But y'all ain't got no privacy.
    So whatcha gonna do to protect yourself?
    Better use that damn cryptography!
    Yeah, I like to surf
    the Internet turf
    I find so much stuff
    I can't get enough!
    I like to hip hip hop
    I like to online shop
    I trust RSA
    to keep the hackers at bay
    They're sending us a message
    And it ain't subliminal
    The only way to protect you
    Is to treat you like a criminal!
    I want to encrypt
    My Internet mail
    And I should be allowed to do it
    Without going to jail!
    The latest entrant in Silicon Valley's rock star collection contest
    didn't settle for having marquee entertainment -- the Sugar Hill Gang -- 
    appear. No, the beginning of the RSA Data Security Conference featured 
    Code Greek Jim Bidzos, RSA's CEO, actually performing with one of New 
    York's original rap bands.
    "I've always wanted to do that," Bidzos said at the end of his opening 
    act. "And I promise never to do it again." The Gossip Columnist now 
    utters a fervent prayer that this promise is kept. Experience, however, 
    suggests otherwise.
    Bidzos said the rappers -- who are touring the area and will perform 
    again tonight at RSA's Cryptographers' Gala -- charged "surprisingly 
    little" to perform. But maybe that's because he supplied the group with 
    his very own crypto-rap lyrics, a rhyming version of his usual RSA sales 
    pitch that invoked privacy rights, denouced government export controls 
    and included jokes about banking and sex.
    "I want to encrypt/my Internet mail/and I should be allowed to do 
    it/without goin' to jail!" rapped the Code Greek and his new friends.
    Bidzos' enthusiasm aside, it is a long way from Sugar Hill to Nob Hill, 
    almost as far as the distance between the first RSA conference in 1991 at 
    the Hotel Sofitel -- attended by 60 academics, hackers, and businessmen 
    -- and this year's business conference.
    This year's RSA conference -- held in San Francisco's Masonic Auditorium, 
    a structure built by the *original* secret-handshake crowd -- attracted 
    3,000, almost none of them academics, a few of them spies and almost all 
    of them looking for a business deal. In addition to the President's 
    dinner, there were meals, drinks and billiards at the University Club, 
    not to mention jeroboams (also known as BFBs) fo cabernets that Bidzos 
    picked up at the Napa Valley wine auction.
    Helping people keep secrets is big business. The legitimization of 
    cryptography -- the acknowledgment that it's not just an academic 
    discipline -- is what Bidzos and his patent holders are celebrating. It's 
    a party so big that next year it moves to the San Jose McEnery Convention 
    "The whole business philosophy was to wait until the Internet bloomed," 
    said Ron Rivest, the "R" in RSA, which is also named for two other 
    founders, cryptographers Len Adleman and Adi Shamir. "The company was in 
    survival mode for a number of years." With the increasing use of the 
    Internet, individuals, governments and corporations have become more 
    interested in keeping private things private. And that's been good for 
    RSA, which happens to own the rights, almost all the rights, to an 
    easy-to-use encryption technology called public key encryption. "It's 
    just the nature of cryptography," said Rivest. Yes, but RSA helped itself 
    along. Ask anyone who's ever negotiated with Bidzos.
    "In business he has this tough-guy side," said one venture capitalist who 
    declined -- years ago -- to invest in RSA. "I couldn't figure out how to 
    make money selling public key encryption," he said. But the Code Greek 
    always knew. Or, as in poker, he acted as if he did.
    "Bidzos, when he got the upper hand, was very tough to deal with," said 
    the VC. The next two years will tell if he's agile. RSA's patents expire 
    soon. "The question is how do they manage this transition when they come 
    off patents," said the VC. "The drug companies get hammered."

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