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A brief History

At the Chaos Communication Congress 1997 we (Alex and Rop) met a number of German hackers that were developing a very cheap do-it-yourself box that would do telephone encryption over normal phone lines using an external modem. We had been thinking about this for a long time (although mostly in the 'wouldn't it be nice' sense), and we were able to input some of our ideas into this project.
We also stressed that in our opinion it was vitally important to build a PC program that would interoperate with this box that they were building, so there would quickly be a large installed base of people to talk to. In fact, in a moment of uncontrolled enthousiasm we even offered to make sure the interoperating software got written once they had a working prototype.

As a result of this meeting, we formed a mailing list to discuss this project further. This list was called HLL (Harmless Little List) and there's an archive of the postings on this site. The whole project has been given working title "Harmless Little Project". The Harmless Little theme was chosen because any future government interference with production, sales, export, import or use of this technology would generate nicer newspaper headlines ;-)))

Since then, we've used the list to discuss all sorts of things related to this project. The germans are pretty far in designing a first prototype box based on the Hitachi SH 7040 microcontroller chip. It is said to provide enough processing power to run a full-duplex codec and encryption, it's cheap as hell and all the tools for it are in the public domain.


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