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Big Brother is Watching You, My Science Fair Project 1999-2000

Big Brother is Watching You, My Science Fair Project 1999-2000

I was going through boxes that I had in my dad's attic the other week and found a lot of my papers from my junior and senior years of high school. Final papers for English, Calculus AB/BC notebooks, and this - my senior year science fair project. "Big Brother is Watching You" is what I titled it - LOL. All about encryption, I really wish I knew where I got the idea to do this project from! Though I for sure know the book that I got, once I had the idea. It's there in my bibliography. Applied Cryptography, 2nd Edition, by Bruce Schneier. The big red book.

Applied Cryptography, 2nd Edition
Applied Cryptography, 2nd Edition

Honestly, it kinda blows my mind that I did this, I hardly even remember doing it. I think since I had already taken every Computer Science AP class and essentially had my own unlisted CompSci AP class, I was allowed to work on this project as the only real work I had to do for that class. I completely forgot though how I had learned it that year, and all the time I spent on the C++ code that I created for it. (though the code is probably not that great in retrospect!) But yeah, this project is why, when the Snowden stuff happened, I remember being very confused by everyone's reactions. I thought it was common knowledge. I even said that to people, and they probably thought I was just being some weird wannabe-know-it-all computer nerd. But I mean I wrote about it in 1999 and it's all right here - I mention the NSA specifically. I mean, I guess it was just speculation, I wasn't going to bet my life on it or anything- well, actually, I probably would have if the reward had been substantial enough.

pictures of 4down from 1999
These were some of the other cool things I was doing in 1999…

So yeah this has most of the project. The C++ code that I wrote, I have it all, it's all on paper- I had printed it to bring to the science fair. Thankfully, because I certainly don't have the files themselves anymore. But personally I think I did some weird boneheaded stuff in the code, I don't know what I was thinking, but I mean I did just learn this stuff that year. It's hard for me to read stuff I wrote so long ago and not cringe a little, but that's okay, I'm still going to post it. Right now it's just the images from my scans, but I guess I can make it actual text at some point. And I didn't scan all of the C++ code, one day I can do that, too.

Please remember I was only 17 when I wrote this stuff, Y2K hadn't even happened yet when I did a lot of this- LOL!