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A Crypto Sighting - rum runners in California

I'm looking for examples of "real world" encryption, and I came across this one: Half Moon Bay Memories & El Granada Observer » When Rumrunners Ruled Part 2.

The author notes how the rumrunners in the 1920s had a "flashlight code." Different patterns of flashes told smuggling boats offshore whether or not it was safe to land. (Updated!)

Steve Bellovin dropped me a note reminding me that Kahn had talked about crypto being used by rumrunners. Kahn's story is based on the east coast of the US and it's more high tech: it involves encrypted radio. The Coast Guard fought back with direction finders and another secret weapon: Elizabeth Friedman, cryptanalyst wife of William Friedman.

For those not familiar with "Kahn," we're referring to The Codebreakers, by David Kahn, first published in the 1960s. It was the first thorough, published history of crypto.

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