It is a measure of how things have changed that 100 years ago coders were mostly covert state employees at organisations like the Government Code & Cypher School, the forerunner of GCHQ, which was set up in 1919 but whose existence was barely acknowledged until the Eighties.
Today, coders are the backbone of the world’s most famous and valuable companies – Microsoft, Google, Facebook. And we are encouraged to get our children coding as early as possible so that they may shape the world – not have it shaped for them.
Secrecy has become so public that it forms the sales pitch of smartphone apps that offer “end-to-end encryption” – all the way from your device to your interlocutor’s, no matter the...
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