world Why secret services wanted encryption technology from Switzerland

Why secret services wanted encryption technology from Switzerland


Switzerland’s relaxed export policy is the basis for its decades of leadership in encryption technology. It was no coincidence that the Swedish cipher machine inventor Boris Hagelin (1892–1983) chose Zug in 1953 to found his Crypto AG. This has become world-famous, at least since the crypto leaks uncovered this week that the US secret service CIA and the German intelligence service BND have been selling manipulated encryption devices all over the world for decades, eavesdropping on 100 countries.

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It would not have been possible in Hagelin’s homeland. The Swedes saw his encryption machines as war material that is unsuitable for export business. Hagelin worked closely with the Americans during the war. He had a gentlemen’s agreement with them, according to which he only sold the most sophisticated encryption devices to NATO-friendly countries. This is in the files of the former chief cryptologist of the US intelligence service, NSA, William Friedman (1891-1969), which can be viewed by everyone.


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