New: Hiding Data in Metadata

I'm flipping through this telegraphic code book which E. E. Morgan's Sons used for encoding messages long ago. Most of it consists of code words to convey phrases. E.g., instead of sending "one hundred tins", you would send the code word "waver".

But the people using this book used a trick to embed data in their signatures. Only a few people were composing messages. So the person's signature didn't convey that much information. But the people at E. E. Morgan's Sons didn't necessarily sign their names. On different days of the week, you would sign a different name. On Monday, Hargrove would sign his name as "Harford". On Tuesday, he would sign as "Harive".

Thus, they encoded both the signator's identity and the day of the week in the signature.

Does this mean that the telegraph service did not charge money for the signature? Otherwise, I would thingk that they would want to choose shorter names. Does this mean that telegraphs sometimes took a few days to arrive? I don't know. But I am jotting this note none-the-less.

Labels: ,

Posted 2005-02-20