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Alan Turing Papers On Code Breaking Released By GCHQ

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the check-it-out dept.

Security 78

peetm writes "Two 70-year-old papers by Alan Turing on the theory of code breaking have been released by the government's communications headquarters, GCHQ. It is believed Turing wrote the papers while at Bletchley Park working on breaking German Enigma codes. A GCHQ mathematician said the fact that the contents had been restricted 'shows what a tremendous importance it has in the foundations of our subject.'"

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No direct links in the TFA (1)

batrick (1274632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39740539)

I can't find any links to the "released" papers. No fanfare on http://www.gchq.gov.uk/ [gchq.gov.uk] .

Anyone?

Re:No direct links in the TFA (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 2 years ago | (#39740711)

The two papers are now available to view at the National Archives at Kew, west London.

Published is a very broad term.
Paper on statistics of repetitions by A M Turing [nationalarchives.gov.uk]
Report on the applications of probability to cryptography by A M Turing [nationalarchives.gov.uk]

Re:No direct links in the TFA (4, Informative)

Endovior (2450520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39740885)

Available to the public =/= full text freely available online. You need to show up in person and request access, or submit a form online requesting access, paying a fee either way. I don't really want to create an account with the national archives just for the purpose of seeing how big that fee is; but if any UK slashdotters are interested enough to go through that process and order a copy, it would be interesting to know just how much they're charging.

Re:No direct links in the TFA (3, Funny)

JaneTheIgnorantSlut (1265300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39740967)

Turing is probably spinning in his grave trying to decode the meaning of the words "available" and "public" in the archive's announcements.

Re:No direct links in the TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39742455)

This email is to confirm we have received your request for an estimate for document copying.Please note that for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the estimate serves as a Fees Notice in accordance with section 9(1) of that Act.

Your request for an estimate should be completed and sent to you within 10 working days. You will be sent another email explaining how you can view your estimate. You can then proceed with an order to copy some or all of the items you requested.

Please save or print this email or make a note of the following details. You should quote your estimate number in all correspondence and queries.

Estimate number:
Medium option: Paper copies
Colour option: Monochrome

1. Document Reference(s): HW 25/38
      Instructions for Copying: All pages in this document will be copied.

Once completed, your estimate will be sent to:

Thank you for your estimate request.

Regards

Record copying department
The National Archives

Re:No direct links in the TFA (3, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39742905)

Medium option: Paper copies

Why didn't you order the digital, downloadable option? I did, and they estimate came back to 0 (i.e. free).

That said, I still don't have a link for the download.

Re:No direct links in the TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39743457)

I already had an account, since I used the national archive's services to get me a copy of the design details of a 1950's head lice comb in my possession that had the UK registered design number printed on the side.

Somebody had to go and pull the paper out of a file in a basement and scan it. The reason the national archive works like that is that is actually houses a lot of paper. It is not all digital.

What is fairly stunning is that no one thought that sticking a scanned copy on a website somewhere might be a good idea.

Re:No direct links in the TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39743875)

Did they say how long it would take?

I work 5 minutes walk from the National Archives, so I could go at lunch. But I don't have a digital camera with me (only my phone), and I assume they change for on-site copying anyway.

(Regular poster, but I don't want to reveal my workplace.)

Re:No direct links in the TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39744243)

I do not yet completely understand the whole process, but it seems
that you first only request a cost estimate, and after that you can go on
to do the actual request. The estimate alone takes ~ 10 days...

If anyone could get a copy before that ... that would be NICE!

I got the following email:

Dear Mr. X

This email is to confirm we have received your request for an estimate for document copying.Please note that for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the estimate serves as a Fees Notice in accordance with section 9(1) of that Act.

Your request for an estimate should be completed and sent to you within 10 working days. You will be sent another email explaining how you can view your estimate. You can then proceed with an order to copy some or all of the items you requested.

Please save or print this email or make a note of the following details. You should quote your estimate number in all correspondence and queries.

-

Estimate number: E123123123
-
Medium option: Digital Images
Colour option: Monochrome

1. Document Reference(s): HW 25/37

Re:No direct links in the TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39746321)

Did they say how long it would take?

I work 5 minutes walk from the National Archives, so I could go at lunch. But I don't have a digital camera with me (only my phone), and I assume they change for on-site copying anyway.

(Regular poster, but I don't want to reveal my workplace.)

Given you work within a 5-minute walking radius of the National Archives, having stated a reluctance to reveal your workplace suggests a high-value government office, and a few days of surveillance within the specified circumference of said facility should easily allow your workplace to be identified. Sometimes saying nothing is better if anonymity is truly important to you. :)

Re:No direct links in the TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39770007)

So what could we do to make you scan+upload the papers? ;-)

Re:No direct links in the TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772083)

Prevent it from raining!

I would need to register for a reader's ticket (and to bring extra ID from home) and to complete a document handling training process. Then I need to order the documents (which I can't do online, as I'm not a registered reader, so I'd have to go in before work) and then photograph them, perhaps at lunch time (or else lunch time and after work).

I'm really busy at work this week, but if I find time I'll submit it as a new Slashdot story and update here.

Re:No direct links in the TFA (1)

kylog (684524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39745881)

Why didn't you order the digital, downloadable option? I did, and they estimate came back to 0 (i.e. free).

That said, I still don't have a link for the download.

Odd. I requested digital, downloadable versions of both docs yesterday, and today received an estimate of 25.20 pounds for one doc and 126.20 pounds for the other. Which I'm certainly not going to pay. I assume they'll just put it online at some point.

Re:No direct links in the TFA (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761693)

Odd. I requested digital, downloadable versions of both docs yesterday, and today received an estimate of 25.20 pounds for one doc

Right, and this is a good place to correct myself: I finally got an e-mail from the with the same estimate. I swear that, while making the order on their website, the estimate was 0.

Anyhow, I stand utterly and miserably corrected.

Fuck.

Re:No direct links in the TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39743731)

Great! The copyright must be expired, so could you just scan it in and upload it as a torrent somewhere, so the rest of the world can benefit from it?

Thanks in advance!

Re:No direct links in the TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39745835)

£126 for paper
£4 for digital

Alan Turing's Work (5, Insightful)

alanmeyer (174278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39740549)

Alan Turing's work continues to demonstrate "what a tremendous importance it has in the foundations" of computing technology in general, not just crypto.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39740607)

His work as a fudge packer is also of note.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39740667)

Even if he was, it wouldn't be of any note. It doesn't fucking matter.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (5, Insightful)

spongman (182339) | more than 2 years ago | (#39740669)

yes, noteworthy in that he showed it's possible to be gay, be persecuted by neanderthals and still be one of the most influential thinkers of our time.

thankfully he's wasn't also a stupid fucking slashdot troll, or we might all be Nazis right now.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39740701)

Oh, I'm so hurt because a fag defender cried about my post. The dude was a fudge packing pervert. Get over it

Re:Alan Turing's Work (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39740801)

Oh, I'm so hurt because a fag defender cried about my post. The dude was a fudge packing pervert. Get over it

Given all the evidence about the negative health effects of smoking, I can't see how anybody can defend fags these days.
Especially by, of all people, those who work in food/confection preparation and service jobs.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39740883)

Anonymous Coward indeed.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39741093)

Said the pot to the kettle.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39740949)

Is your problem with anal sex, or just having it with men?

Re:Alan Turing's Work (5, Insightful)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39741997)

When I hear Alan Turing I think code breaking, computer science, cutting edge math. When AC hears Alan Turing he thinks... gay sex. Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39743727)

A study [nih.gov] measured arousal (by measuring penile circumference) in exclusively heterosexual men in response to various kinds of pornographic image. They found a clear correlation between homophobia and homosexual arousal.

So yes, other AC is a fag.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39743983)

I would question the conclusions that report reaches. For one thing the nature of the experiment suggests they had an outcome in mind before they started but the biggest problem is the assumption that penile circumference only correlates to sexual arousal.

If someone is subjected to videos that provokes extreme feelings of disgust or anger, it's probably reasonable to assume that all sorts of hormones and chemicals get released into the blood. Some of these could be responsible for the increase in girth.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39744099)

If someone is subjected to videos that provokes extreme feelings of disgust or anger, it's probably reasonable to assume that all sorts of hormones and chemicals get released into the blood. Some of these could be responsible for the increase in [penile] girth.

Sounds like you've got the theme for some prize-winning research right there! Admittedly, it'd probably be the Ig Nobel Prize but it'd still be something...

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39744115)

... How is that any worse than the other study? A study designed to identify the cause is certainly better than one that is ripe for confirmation bias with a correlation = causation conclusion.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39753589)

So what you are saying is when you watch gay porn you get all ... hormonal and erect?

Hm.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39744799)

When I hear code breaking, computer science, and cutting edge math, I think gay sex.

But I'm odd that way, I guess.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39742175)

We got over the gay sex years ago. When are you gonna get over the fact that doesn't make him perverted?

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39742667)

Also, FYI: Not all homosexuals pack fudge. Many of them never do.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39741533)

It's almost like one might wonder how things had turned out if he had said "Fuck it, I'm not working one single minute for these guys".

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39744037)

Although the law he was prosecuted under was wrong. He would've lost his security clearance even if he hadn't. He had an incredibly high level of security clearance and he would've been a top target for Soviet agents. Given the public perception of homosexual behaviour at the time, it would've made him easy prey for blackmailing (I believe having an affair could get your clearance revoked too).

The Soviets were using Enigma for their codes (they didn't know it was broken and it was better than what they were using), The secret services couldn't afford any risks. As much as the paranoia destroyed the lives of good people, it was done in the belief it would save far more lives.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39744319)

Soviets? Don't you mean the Germans?

Re:Alan Turing's Work (2)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39744385)

Nope, the Soviets. After WW2 they found all the abandoned Enigma machines, realised how advanced they were and decided to use them themselves. It's one of the reasons it took so long for Turing's work to be declassified.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39744453)

I can't find any info on that. Got a link?

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39744847)

Was on the BBC documentary on Bletchley Park called "code breakers" which went into huge detail on what the codes were, how they worked and the process for breaking them. Had a big focus on the the rest of the people in Turing's team who aren't as much a household name but did work that was arguably just as key as his.

Really interesting program, worth tracking down and watching.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39746495)

Thanks. I think this [youtube.com] is the one.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (2)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39746307)

I fully agree with your post, but it was all so stupid. Turing was a super-high value espionage target even after his security clearance was revoked.

And his sexual tendencies didn't get in the way of Turing's assistance in a real, shooting, war--where the very existence of GB was at stake.

When the WWII ended and the obligatory continuing war was just a "cold" war, the elite figured they could dispense with him, and they did.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (5, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39741077)

The self sacrifice of that "fudge packer", along with the sacrifice of millions of other men and women, is what kept the 1000 Year Reich from even reaching 10.

I think 30 million dead Russians had something to (1, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 2 years ago | (#39741819)

I think 30 million dead Russians had something to do with that as well. Not to diminish Turing's contribution, but how much did it matter compared to that?

Re:I think 30 million dead Russians had something (4, Insightful)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 2 years ago | (#39742555)

He, along with others, shortened the length of the war. So you had 30 million dead Russian instead of 60, 90, or god knows how many million dead Russians. And dead various other nationalities come to that. I'd say they both mattered, one shortened the war, one ensured it wasn't lost in the mean time.

Re:I think 30 million dead Russians had something (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39744941)

Notice I said "the sacrifice of millions of other men and women". Yes, that includes the Russians. I didn't say "millions of British" or any other nationality for that matter. Would you prefer it if I mentioned every nationality that fought with the Allies in WWII? The contributions of the Australians, the Indians, the Canadians, the brave Polish, Dutch, and French resistance members, numerous other states, even the people of Crete were just as important as that of Russia, because while they may not have contributed in the numbers the Russians did, they were willing to dedicated their lives, and in many cases gave their lives, in order to keep the world free. To pick out and name one nationality would be wrong.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1, Flamebait)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39742887)

Oh, please, like the Nazi party could do worse than the USA currently does?

Re:Alan Turing's Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39743607)

Oh, please, like the Nazi party could do worse than the USA currently does?

Imagine if they had nukes, or over 800 military bases in over 100 countries, owned almost all the governments in the world, subjugated non-state citizens to state laws, established torture camps, infinite detention without trial, the right to kill anyone anywhere in the world without due process, etc. Now that's what you call an empire.

Re:Alan Turing's Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39742925)

[Turing et millions al] kept the 1000 Year Reich from even reaching 10.

Not in base 10, unfortunately. (1945-1933 = 12, thus it is also punningly referred to as the dozen-year reich)

Yes he was a fudge packer (2)

steve.cri (2593117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39743951)

He packed fudge up Dönitz and Hitler's ass so hard they cried uncle!

Re:Alan Turing's Work (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39746263)

It's interesting this thread is 2 away from the Neal Stehpenson thread. Go read Cryptonomicon for a fictionalized account of Turing's efforts in WWII.

what else is there ? (1)

johnjones (14274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39740577)

one wonders what else is there if they are only releasing these now ?

regards

John Jones

Re:what else is there ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39740753)

His fucking LOVE LETTERS to him many grad student "assistants"?

British Governments Crime (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39740657)

I love how Turing articles never mention what the British did to him. Still makes me sick every time I think about it.

This is how humans treat their best and brightest.

Re:British Governments Crime (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39741829)

Um, homosexuality *WAS* illegal, and Turing *knew* it.

Re:British Governments Crime (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39741859)

and in the year 2000 oral sex was illegal in 18 states, but most people did it anyway. turn the clock back to 1970 and it was illegal in almost all states, and most people did it anyway.

Re:British Governments Crime (2)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39742397)

Most people? You must be new here.

Re:British Governments Crime (5, Informative)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 2 years ago | (#39742579)

I'm British and I didn't do anything to him. I repeatedly point out what the British government of the time did to him - I don't care if he technically took his own life, the government killed him after all they did to him.

It should be noted it wasn't just him they did it to, they did the same thing to lots of homosexual men. People just care/notice more about it with him because he did such high profile war work. I'm sure you can find examples of anonymous homosexual men who received similar treatment and served during the war in more routine capacities.

Genius recognition (4, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39740675)

"Alan Turing just had brilliant ideas way ahead of their time which were terribly important to the future of the world if you like," Mr Harper said.

I kinda wish geniuses like Turing were rewarded as well as a second string shortstop or bench warming basketball player.

Re:Genius recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39740747)

Then they should learn how to slam dunk and we might care.

Re:Genius recognition (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39740807)

Curly Joe can slam dunk and is one of the finest scientific minds in the universe, according to Professor Farnsworth.

BEST Futurama line EVER: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39744479)

Farnsworth & Curly are at whiteboard (/chalkboard/screen/whatever) trying to solve how to repair tear in space-time (or whatever it was) when Curly responds to Farnsworth's conclusion.

Curly: "but that would take a DOOMSDAY weapon!"
Farnsworth: "DOOMSDAY weapon, you say? I suppose I could spare ONE and still be feared..."

{opens door to warehouse FULL of various doomsday weapons}

my favorite line/scene in the entire series!

Re:Genius recognition (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39740823)

...then you probably won't want to hear about how he WAS treated.

Re:Genius recognition (1)

mSparks43 (757109) | more than 2 years ago | (#39741003)

It's almost a moral obligation to pirate these.

Re:Genius recognition (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39741055)

The first mistake of capitalism is to assume that the brightest people do it for money.

Re:Genius recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39742541)

The first mistake of capitalism is to assume that all the brightest people do it for money.

FTFY.

Over-simplification is the first mistake for any group of people.

Re:Genius recognition (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39742307)

I kinda wish geniuses like Turing were rewarded as well as a second string shortstop or bench warming basketball player.

Scary that I've hear this twice today in a dozen hours: I finally got to read my dead-tree copy of a two-month old Wired [wired.com] article. Near the last paragraph, it similarly states that the only genius still strongly encouraged in the USA is that of athletes. In salaries, willingness of the masters / trainers to routinely take risks to trade or acquire good and bad players / rookies... and finally, public sway. Because you can usually pick one or two of those pluses in real-life decisions like picking a career.. but not all 3.

yuo fAil it! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39741051)

TPB (3, Informative)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39741789)

I am going to The Pirate Bay now. If the papers are not there, I shall be sorely disappointed.

Re:TPB (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39741799)

Bother!

Re:TPB (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39741867)

give it a few weeks....

British screwed Turing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39741941)

Fuck the British Government on Turing. They used him when they needed him during the war then later they prosecuted him for the crime of homosexuality. His code breaking saved thousands of lives and this how they thanked him.

Re:British screwed Turing (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39742437)

Yes the UK wanted to keep the public away from the 'we broke the codes' in ~near realtime ww2 spoiler.
How would other countries, new, large, small, friendly, neutral view the news?- would they all take on the effort for extreme generational crypto security and make the job of a less well funded GCHQ not so easy?
The UK also had a few hundred years practice in blackmail and felt Turing going on some European holiday was a security risk.
Who would he meet, who would seduce him, what might maths, machine and ww2 topics cover....
At some point his unique skills vs the risk of Soviet interest might have tipped as more people understood the new maths and computing.
He was a risk and not unique anymore.
The 1996 movie "Breaking the Code" is a good staring point http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115749/ [imdb.com]

So where are the papers? (1)

kruhft (323362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39742259)

I see a story but it's devoid of links. Does anybody know where the papers can be downloaded?

Re:So where are the papers? (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 2 years ago | (#39742605)

They aren't, you have to request hard copies from the National Archives. I dare say they'll end up making it available on-line at some point, they're bound to get inundated with requests for hard copies and it will end up being easier for them.

I've no idea what their general policy with regards to digitizing old papers is - I wouldn't be surprised if there's an on-going project to digitize them, but I suspect some papers have higher priorities than others. It's also 6am and I'm still too asleep to look on the website.

It wasn't the importance (4, Funny)

joss (1346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39743725)

They had to wait for the statue of limitations to run out otherwise he could have been posthumously deported to US for DMCA violations.

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