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CIA archives document Agency’s decades of ASCII woes

CIA archives document Agency’s decades of ASCII woes

In the ‘60s, the US federal government saw a need for a unified standard for digitally encoding information. Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 executive order on computer standards directed federal agencies to convert all of their databases to the new character encoding standard: the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, or ASCII. While now a universal standard, records from the Central Intelligence Agency archives document decades of reluctance and frustration from the technicians actually responsible for making the change happen.

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