AP/Wide World Photos
An anti-surface warfare coordinator in the Combat Information Center of the destroyer USS Decatur goes through a training exercise. Ensuring that all kinds of electronic information are properly protected is essential to the nation’s security.

      In the next few years we will see more security technology being developed and deployed. We will have to make difficult choices about when and where these technologies should be applied. Cryptography, for example, can be used to protect information and information systems by assuring privacy and data integrity. It is a means to identify or authenticate people in various roles. Using cryptography generally increases the security of computers regardless of who they belong to. Computer and network security technology protects the computers of both the “good guys” and the “bad guys.” Should citizens and American businesses be allowed to harden their systems (and protect them from intruders including the government), or should only the government be allowed to use cryptography? The National Academy of Science studied this, and its conclusions are in the book Cryptography’s Role in Securing the Information Society (www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/crisis).
      Ghandi, King, and Mandela are inspiring examples that no system or technology can withstand human resolve and determination forever. Information technology increasingly binds us together by making it ever more difficult for any of us to say, “I didn’t know.”
      Whether information technology brings us closer so we can live together more effectively or merely highlights our differences is our choice to make. Deciding to live together peacefully is an age-old choice, with technology magnifying the consequences. I hope we choose wisely.

      Meredith Professor Shiu-Kai Chin ’75, G’78, G’86 teaches in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and is director of the CASE Center. He has worked with the Information Warfare Branch at the Information Directorate of the Air Force Research Lab in Rome, New York, and is a commissioner on the Onondaga County/City of Syracuse Human Rights Commission.

Furthering Advanced Technologies

The terrible events of September 11 were a somber reminder that the research we do in the Center for Natural Language Processing—creating technology that enables computers to have a human-like understanding of language for use in mining databases—is for a very real purpose. While such advanced information technologies as ours have been successful in providing advance warning and have foiled other terrorist attempts, it is horrible to think that evidence of the September 11 terrorists’ plans was not detected. Renewed commitment to improving advanced technologies is one outcome I see. The other necessary outcome must be increased attention to the qualifications of employees at strategic points who are the vital linchpin in the process of protecting human life. Technology can only do so much, the human aspect is outside of technology’s control.

— Elizabeth D. Liddy G’77, G’88, professor,
School of Information Studies; director, Center for
Natural Language Processing


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Main Home Page Contents Chancellor's Message Opening Remarks
Reflections In Memoriam Time of Terror Lessons of Hope
Future Impact Voices

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