Famous for being used by the Germans in World War 2 the device was used to send and receive encrypted messages, and with their destruction being commonplace in order to prevent enemies from getting their hands on one, they are thought to be extremely rare. This, coupled with their famous presence during the war and the technical brilliance of the encryption used by the devices for the time have meant that they are exceptionally rare to find and even rarer to be able to acquire.
Originally estimated to sell at Sotheby’s in London for between 50 and 70 thousand, an unnamed buyer purchased the device for a grand total of £149,000. Almost three times its lower initial estimate, and over twice the upper estimate, a price that is small compared to the impact the device has had on the world.
The enigma machine is famous for being cracked by Alan Turing and the others at Bletchley park after the creation of the Colossus, a machine considered to be one of the first implementations of modern computer design.
If you have watched any films or read any books on the history of computers then you have probably heard of the Enigma machine, a machine designed to cipher messages before they are sent out. If you know this much, then you may also know about Alan Turing and how he was able to break the code. Now The Independenthas reported last Saturday about how a bill may come into play that would give Alan Turing a Pardon.
Alan Turing was a hero and a great man, something that is not mentioned in the history books is that Turing was homosexual, and in 1952 he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’. Over 50 years later a bill may be placed which would quash his conviction, and clearing his name. Less than 150 years ago, Turing would have likely been put to death for this conviction. Turing would have had to go to prison for this conviction, instead he was given female hormones. The hormones work as a “chemical castration”, Turing committed suicide two years later.
If it hadn’t been for Alan Turing, World War II likely would have lasted at least an additional 2 years, and preventing possible hundreds of thousands of lives, as well as starvation throughout Britain. The government has stated that it would not do anything to stop the legislation in parliament. If the bill passes, it would overturn the criminal offense.
Is there really a point to all of this, overturning convictions from over half a century ago? Personally I do not feel that any criminal conviction should follow anyone around for their entire life, but maybe this is a case of too little too late.