RSA traditionally had licensed only its BSAFE encryption technology, which can cost customers tens of thousands of dollars, but company officials say the timing is right to give developers easier access to tools for building more security features into applications from the ground up, rather than tacking them on later. The new Share Project is an online community for developers that provides support, information, and free downloads of RSA's encryption toolkits for C/C++ and Java. The company plans to offer more free security tools under the program, as well.
This is good news for people who want a certain degree of security in their applications, but for those of you wanting to keep the government out of your private business, there is a drawback.
Breaking a code requires two steps. First, the method must be worked out. After the method is worked out, then the key for a particular message must be found.
Of the two, finding the method is the most difficult. This was the major sticking point for the Allies during WW2 in trying to break the Enigma code, and the method was not solved until an Enigma was captured from a Nazi sub. Once they had the machine and the method, it became a matter of brute force (and Turing's machines) to find the keys.
With RSA (or DES or Clipper or ... ) the government starts out knowing the method used for encryption. And with three acres of supercomputers underneath NSA's Fort Mead complex, finding the keys to a particular message is only a matter of time, usually seconds.