Computer Security Discourse at RAND, SDC, and NSA (1958-1970)

Thomas J. Misa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The 1967 Spring Joint Computer Conference session organized by Willis Ware and the 1970 Ware Report are widely held by computer security practitioners and historians to have defined the field's origin. This article documents, describes, and assesses new evidence about two early multilevel access, time-sharing systems, SDC's Q-32 and NSA's RYE, and outlines its security-related consequences for both the 1967 SJCC session and 1970 Ware Report. Documentation comes from newly conducted Charles Babbage Institute oral histories, technical literature, archival documents, and recently declassified sources on National Security Agency computing. This evidence shows that early computer security emerged from the intersection of material, cultural, political, and social events and forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7763727
Pages (from-to)12-25
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • NSA's RYE
  • National Security Agency
  • SDC's Q-32
  • Ware Report
  • computer security
  • history of computing
  • security and protection


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