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Letter from Givon Zirkind on the Non-Decryptable encryption

Recently Cyberwarzone published an article on a Non-Decryptable encryption challenge. CWZ contacted Givon Zirkind.

Givon Zirkind responded with an letter. Feel free to read the letter.

The letter discusses NSA, ACM Transactions, Pittsburgh Undergraduate review,  American Mathematical Association, Phil Zimmerman, Bruce Schneier.


 

Dear Reza,

Thank you! I appreciate your help. Have you read my articles? I'm in America and a US citizen. I can't send my work (including my articles) out of the country. But, people can look in. I have posted my articles in a computer archive in Cornell University. (Within a month of my articles being posted to the archive, they were linked to by a Russian math blog.) The US government is funny when it comes to encryption and non-government professionals. Although I can't pass peer review, I and my colleagues know that I have developed a non-decryptable --by method-- encryption. You might be able to guess, using a computer. Cycle through every possible encryption method there is. But, as I explain in my article, the possible number of “keys” are infinite. That opens up a whole new dimension to encryption.

 

Such encryption is considered "very strong encryption” in the US and illegal to export. Also, as far as I know illegal to use outside the army and probably some other government agencies like the State Dept. It is an old story in the US that European banking encryption and computer security is ahead of the US. This is done on purpose by the US government to ensure that the police can investigate financial crimes.

 

I did submit my articles to ACM Transactions (ACM – American Computing Machinery society). The editor in chief suggested I submit the article to a more technical journal. Both he & I could tell the reviewer (only one reviewer) did not understand what I was talking about.

 

I submitted to the Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review which liked the article very much and wanted to publish it. But, I was already a Master's student and not undergraduate. So, on that technicality, they wouldn't publish the paper.

 

My submission to the AMA (American Mathematical Association) was interesting and comical. Even though their subject list includes a code for encryption, the editor told me, “the AMA does not do encryption”. Really? The Journal of the AMA—the leading mathematical journal in the US does not do encryption? The AMA has no one qualified to review an article on encryption? Really? I find that hard to believe. But, the editor passed on the article to a qualified mathematician.

 

That mathematician wrote a brief statement. First he asked, 'Why would anyone do this?' That is hardly a factual or logical refutation. Then he said, “Well it doesn't conform to any known method of encryption.” – Yes, true. Hence, that is why I said my methods were new and novel. Then, he said, 'It won't work.” No explanation. No mathematical or logical proof, disproving my methods. That is not a professional review.

 

A year later, a professor from Princeton, a member of the AMA and their editorial board sent me a “review”. But, I thought the AMA did not have anyone qualified in encryption to write a review? This professor had been on their editorial board when I originally submitted my article. His review was nothing more than an attack. It included neither math nor logic refuting my method.

 

I do not wish to appear conspiracy freakish but, the NSA (the National Security Agency), which handles encryption / decryption for ALL US government agencies; has a think tank right outside Princeton University. Professors from Princeton work for the NSA. The NSA is naturally very protective of encryption / decryption. When David Kahn wrote his excellent work on the History of Cryptography, the NSA tried to squash it. First they asked the publisher not to print the book. But, that would have been a financial loss. So, the publisher wanted to publish the book. Also, the publisher felt with Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Information, why not publish the book? Only public record and public knowledge had been printed. So, the NSA then tried to discredit the author as an amateur. True, he was just a newspaper reporter. But, he had done excellent research and written a first class book.

 

I feel the NSA has taken the same approach with me. Instead of going about it the morally correct way of classifying the paper, they have taken to a character assassination and very unprofessional and nonacademic approach. Instead of logically arguing, they are attacking with personal ad hominem attacks. I have no criminal record. I have not done anything illegal. And, I have not done anything illegal with this knowledge. It is not right that the government should treat a law abiding citizen like this.

 

I fully understand that such work and inventions are outside the domain of the common citizen. In the “Story of Maps”, Lloyd A. Brown discusses the alchemists and their quest to turn lead into gold. He asked, “Why?” If you could, gold would be worth nothing. If you could, everyone would be after you to do it for them. Worse, they'd kill you for your secret. Only a nobleman could use such knowledge. What would a commoner do with it?

So too, non-decryptable encryption. I understand it is nothing I can sell privately. This is technology that the government will seize and declare public domain on. Only the government can use it. I got that.

But, as an academic, scientist and researcher, I am entitled to priority discovery, the recognition, etc. I am encouraged to make new discoveries. This is not the first discovery I have made. I have made fundamental discoveries in compression. I have made discoveries in other fields as well. People should be encouraged to use their minds. Who knows what good they will devise for society. I am no different than college physic students who develop atomic bombs. Except, that their papers get classified and the government offers them jobs.

My methods have implementation problems. I know this. My articles do not cover the whole story and explanation. I know this too. For one, I would need to write a small book and not an article. An article is limited to just 50 pages. My article is maxed out of space. Also, I have left out some critical explanations. I know I am obscure at times. I am always a bit obscure. I never divulge all my trade secrets. (See my AFIS patent and articles about it. I have never divulged the filter to anyone. All attempts to reverse engineer my patent have been stymied there.) However, there is enough in my article to prove my point. I also left out an equation. (To do that justice would require its own article.) But, it is not necessary to the logical understanding of the methods.

I sent a copy of my original article to Phil Zimmerman and Bruce Schneier. Neither one of them read it. I got a response from them in 5 minutes. No one can read a 30 page technical article in 5 minutes—not even with speed reading! Bruce Schneier said, 'No one is interested in non-decryptable encryption. Work on hash methods instead.”

Would you rather have a decryptable hash method or a non-decryptable password file? And why should the government not allow password files to be non-decryptable? It's only access to a network—not data.

I had wanted to submit my articles to Cryptologia for consideration. But, Cryptologia is located in Switzerland. I fear for being arrested.

After having recently read Kevin Mitnick's book, Ghost in the Wires, I decided to appeal to the hacker community. After all, they should be up to the challenge. Is this how you found me? Someone gave you a link to my web site? Mr. Mitnick used encrypts as chapter headings and is offering a prize to readers who decrypt them. Thought I might do the same.

Again, I see in America the unfortunate immoral behavior that law abiding citizens get screwed, while criminals get jobs. Albeit, Kevin Mitnick has repented as far as I am concerned. He no longer engages in illegal activity. And, for the record; the government, the legal system was unfair and denied due process. In addition, they made outrageous claims and charges. They never understood their target. And, the allegations of theft were ridiculous exaggerations! How unfortunate that the US school system, US government and society failed him and did not provide him with an education and direction that taught him how to use his talents in a constructive manner for society. He had to find his own way. He may have done wrong things. But, I don't see him as a bad person. Especially now, that he has found a way to help people. Where would he have been today had the telephone company kept him under their employ? How much more secure would their phone systems have been?

Feel free to republish this letter.

Perhaps you would like to write a review. Before you do, let me clue you in. I will tell you, that all the previous reviews of my article were written by people who discussed my “method”. That is singular. One method. How many methods do I discuss in my article “Windtalking Computers”? And, what does that say about my prior reviewers?

All the best.

Again, thank you. Much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Givon Zirkind


Givon Zirkind gave Cyberwarzone the permission to republish the letter. 


Respect eachother and don't start an flame war.