[SIGCIS-Members] computer security history

Jeffrey Yost yostx003 at umn.edu
Sun Mar 11 11:53:18 PDT 2012


Very little research has been published to date on the history of computer
security.  Given the lack of literature on this important topic (and
quality resources to study it), the Charles Babbage Institute proposed and
was funded for a three year National Science Foundation-supported study to
build infrastructure for computer security history.  We are just getting
underway with this project and will be conducting more than 30 in-depth
career-spanning oral history interviews with first generation computer
security pioneers (these will be transcribed, edited, and freely
available--our standard practice with CBI's oral history program).  We will
also be actively engaging in archival collection development efforts for
computer security documentation (we already have some strong holding such
as the Willis Ware Papers and the Donn Parker Papers), and will  publish
scholarship from this research project.  An advisory committee
of leading computer security pioneers is providing guidance to us on this

Historian and Sociologist of Science Donald McKenzie did a few important
articles and book chapters--see his book Mechanizing Proof and an  article
(co-authored w/ G. Pottinger)  on high assurance work w/in the
DoD (primarily work by the Air Force and Air Force contractors that helped
lead to TCSEC or the Orange Book) published in IEEE Annals of the History
of Computing 19 (3) (1997): 41-59.

Also, I did a survey book chapter on the history of computer security
standards in de Leeuw and Bergstra's book The History of Information
Security a few years ago.  History of cryptography has been far more
thoroughly studied and has a significant secondary literature (most of the
chapters in the de Leeuw and Bergstra volume are on this topic) and the NSA
Cryptologic Museum sponsors a regular conference/symposium on the history
of cryptography.


On Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 1:14 PM, Jon Lindsay <jrlindsay at ucsd.edu> wrote:

> Hello all,
> I have the feeling that the history of computer security, from hacking
> techniques to the evolution of the information security industry to
> fearmongering over cybersecurity, is a somewhat understudied area. I have
> seen some work on the development of government policy and threat framing
> (i.e., by Myriam Dunn Cavelty) but I'm less aware of anything on the
> evolution of the technical and industrial dark arts. If there is some good
> work out there, I would love to see it.
> Bonus points if you can tell me when the awful phrase "digital pearl
> harbor" first appeared!
> Cheers,
> Jon
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Jeffrey R. Yost, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Charles Babbage Institute
Faculty, Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

222  21st Avenue South
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

612 624 5050 Phone
612 625 8054 Fax
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