Paranoia is a useful code to live by in the digital age. Consider, every time you use a credit card, the Internet or your mobile phone, the one thing that stands between you and everyone else knowing your business is cryptography - the making of secret ciphers. Yet rather than safeguarding this fragile privacy, powerful government forces have been fighting since the 1980s to keep crypto under their control. But while the offical forces warn of unrestrained criminality and terrorism, those squared against them celebrate the possibility of a new era of empowered individuals benefitting from "crypto-anarchy". This text tells the inside story of the great "Code War". It is the story of privacy in the information age, a history that bears witness to the original dreams and nightmares of the digital revolution. Acclaimed technology writer, Steven Levy, charts the evolution of cryptography from a closely held government technology for keeping secrets to a potentially mass-market means for protecting them. At the centre of his narrative are the innovators and subversives who kicked off the revolution - an iconoclastic subculture of maverick mathematicians, brilliant hackers and fun-loving cyberpunks, willing to take on "Big Brother" to spread the tools of privacy throughout the world. This book poses important political questions throughout. Will the information age enhance our freedoms or snatch them away? Will secret codes empower crooks and international terrorists? Or will the lack of them cripple vital function like our financial systems or our electrical grid? Most important, who do we trust: the government's intelligence agencies who still demand access to our private transactions, or their rebel enemies?