Milestone-Nomination:Invention of Public-key Cryptography
Docket Number: 2008-15
Proposed citation in English
Secure communication was believed impossible without exchange of a secret key, with key distribution a major impediment. James Ellis was first to prove that a symmetric secret-key system is unnecessary, and Cliford Cocks and Martin Williamson were first to show how such 'public-key cryptography' could be achieved. By 1975 GCHQ had developed the essential principles but research kept secret until 1997.
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