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Encryption -- the encoding of digital data so that it can be viewed only by authorized users -- is one of the current hot spots of evolution in the culture of the Net. There are those who claim that if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't need your files encrypted. These are the same people who, for two hundred years, have argued that if you have nothing to hide, why should you be afraid to testify about yourself?

Luckily, the Founders ignored such arguments and enshrined one's right of refusal as the Fifth Amendment. It's not so clear we remain as wise today.

 

The citizens of the 21st century will come to view the right to encryption in the same light that the citizens of the 18th century viewed the right to bear arms.

 

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