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In 1976, three menWhitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, and Ralph Merkledeveloped a technology that's now vital to the Internet and ecommerce, namely publickey cryptography.

It's even got a nice long publickey signature to prove it's legit.

FWIW, I think when you say “most modern cryptographic systems in wide use are based on a certain mathematical asymmetry,” you actually mean most publickey cryptographic systems are based on oneway functions — and one in particular (RSA) is based on building oneway functions out of the presumed hardness of factoring large numbers.

IANAE, but my understanding is that a lot of cryptographic protocols use a publickey system to exchange sessionspecific private keys, which are then used for all further communication …

“But if the publickey system is so safe, how did Olam decode that message?”

A quantum computer could break publickey codes, which are now considered unbreakable.

But you can solve the problem by using publickey cryptography, which is the kind of encryption you see on the Internet.

Thanks to that crazy man Loebner, no publickey encryption system is safe anymore.

The IDF and the Pentagon use publickey systems to secure their classified data networks.

In contrast, cases involving new technologies such as wireless networks, publickey encryption, and datamining technologies raise more complicated issues.
The Volokh Conspiracy » The Fourth Amendment, New Technologies, and the Case for Caution
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