$1M Turing Award winners advocate for encryption

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — This year's $1 million A.M. Turing Award goes to a pair of cryptographers whose ideas became the foundation for much of today's Internet security.

The Association for Computing Machinery said Tuesday that this year's winners are Whitfield Diffie, a former chief security officer of Sun Microsystems, and Martin Hellman, a professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Stanford University. Both have argued that forcing technology companies to let governments hack into encrypted communications puts everyone at risk.

Back in 1976, Diffie and Hellman introduced the ideas of public-key cryptography and digital signatures, which still secure communications and financial transactions today.

Hellman tells The Associated Press that forcing Apple to help the FBI hack into a terrorist's iPhone would come with a "huge" cost to society.