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Managing uncertainty : foresight and flexibility in cryptography and voice over IP policy

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dc.contributor.advisor Kenneth A. Oye. en_US Hung, Shirley Kon-Jean en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science. en_US 2009-11-06T16:18:54Z 2009-11-06T16:18:54Z 2008 en_US
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2008. en_US
dc.description "February 2008." en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (p. 235-248). en_US
dc.description.abstract This main question in this dissertation is under what conditions government agencies show foresight in formulating strategies for managing emerging technologies. A secondary question is when they are capable of adaptation. Conventional wisdom and most organization theory literature suggest that organizations are reactive rather than proactive, reluctant to change, and responsive only to threats to their core mission or autonomy. The technological, economic, social, political, and sometimes security uncertainties that often accompany emerging technologies further complicate decision-making. More generally, organizations must often make decisions under conditions of limited information while guarding against lock-in effects that can constrain future choices. The two cases examined in this dissertation suggest that contrary to conventional wisdom, organizations can show foresight and flexibility in the management of emerging technologies. Key factors that promote foresight are: an organizational focus on technology, with the emerging technology in question being highly relevant to the organization's mission; technical expertise and a recognition of the limits of that knowledge; and experience dealing with other emerging technologies. The NSA recognized the inevitability of mass market encryption early on and adopted a sophisticated strategy of weakening the strength of, reducing the use of, and slowing down the deployment of mass market encryption in order to preserve its ability to easily monitor communications. The Agency showed considerable tactical adaptation in pursuit of this goal. The FCC adopted a rather unusual policy of forbearance toward VoIP. The Commission deliberately refrained from regulating VoIP in order to allow the technology to mature, innovation to occur, uncertainties to resolve, and to avoid potential market distortions due to too early or suboptimally formulated regulation. Eventually, however, pressure from outside interests such as law enforcement forced the Commission to act. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Shirley K. Hung. en_US
dc.format.extent 248 p. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject Political Science. en_US
dc.title Managing uncertainty : foresight and flexibility in cryptography and voice over IP policy en_US
dc.title.alternative Foresight and flexibility in cryptography and voice over IP policy en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 427059231 en_US

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