Ran Data Corporation Ltd.
Ran Data Corporation, commonly abbreviated to RanData or RDC,
was an Australian technology and mining company,
that existed from 13 December 1984 to 26 July 1990.
The company was initially established by the Italian entrepreneur A.J. Monte Sala.
In the mid-1980s, the electronics company was involved in the development of graphics
display systems and encryption devices.
➤ RanData encryption devices
Amadeo Monte Sala was born in 1928 1 in Trieste (Italy) and migrated to
Australia in 1950 at the age of 22.
Three years later, he married wis wife Lydia by proxy,
and eventually arranged for her to join him later.
They had four sons. After the initial drudgery period
and a false start as a miner, he moved from Victoria to Western Australia
and found work at the Philips
plant in Perth. His interest in electronics was born and he did
some pioneering work on spot scanners for television.
he became computer engineer at
In 1960, Australia agreed with the United States to establish
tracking stations for NASA's Gemini space program
(later followed by the Apollo space program),
and Monte Sala joined as Digital Command System (DCS) engineer at the
Carnarvon tracking station . He eventually became the lab manager.
According to Sala, Carnarvon was a turning point in his career .
In 1966, he became operations manager at the computing centre of the University
of Western Australia (UWA), where he worked with the first DEC PDP-6 computers.
He became known for his ability to turn theoretical
problems into practical solutions.
He developed modems for connecting remote terminals to the PDP-6
- quite unique for the time – but was unable to obtain approval. 2
When his colleague Dennis Moore — whilst working
for the Austrialian Government — expressed his concern about security and
privacy issues, Monte Sala developed a low-cost encryption device that was supported
by the Research Institute of Austrialia. In 1982, Dennis Moore went to New York to raise
venture capital, after which Sala set up a new company – Ran Data Pye Ltd –
which was headed by his son Rodd. 3
The encryption devices were further developed and taken into production,
and were eventually used in the SWIFT
network for secure financial transactions .
In 1984 Ran Data Pty Ltd was bought by Caris Corporation Limited — a
juwellery and mining conglomerate — when the latter acquired 78% of the shares
for no less that AU$ 7.25 million,
which is quite remarkable considering that the company's assets were valued at
just AU$ 750,000 at the time.
Apparently, the investors saw great potential in the emerging computer
and digital encryption market.
At the same time, Caris Corporation was renamed Ran Data Corporation .
Pressure was put on Australia — presumably from the United States
and/or the CIA —
not to allow export of Sala's encryption device,
as it was considered too strong for the international intelligence agencies.
According to his former colleague Dennis Moore, Sala was once stopped at the
airport when he was about to take one of his encryption devices to Pakistan .
In 1987, RanData was about to form a joint venture with the Swiss
manufacturer of encryption devices
Crypto AG (Hagelin).
Crypto AG's general manager Heinz Wagner had just signed the deal,
when the real owners of the company — the American CIA
and the German BND —
As RanData was not under the control of the Defence Signals
Directorate (DSD) – the Australian cryptologic organisation – the deal
had to be cancelled. Furthermore, the CIA didn't like his style.
According to the CIA files: "President/founder
known to react irrationally when disappointed in business overtures" —
Monte Sala had a habit of suing anyone who crossed his path .
Eaerlier in 1978, RanData had run into controversy. The company was under
investigation of stock manipulation and Australian business circles
suspected Monte Sala of looting the company .
Monte Sala subsequently abandonned ship and went on to develop other
inventions in his new company – DSA –
of which all his four sons were directors.
The RanData product line was acquired by GSA Technology
– a division of GSA Industries in Victoria (Australia) –
who continued to sell telephone encryptors.
Ran Data Corporation Ltd. was eventually renamed Roycol Ltd., and still exists
under this name today.
Amadeo Monte Sala died in Perth (Australia) on 1 April 2002.
The date of birth is currently unknown (the year may also be 1927).
Like in most countries at the time, the state-owned telecom monopolist blocked
any alien devices.
Rodd Sala was Director and General Manager of Ran Data from 1982 until 1989.
The diagram below shows the ownership of the RanData assets. At the left,
shown in blue, is Monte Sala's initial company Ran Data Pty Ltd, which
was absorbed in 1984 in the big Caris Corporation on the right (shown in
yellow) and sold off again to GSA Technology Ltd. in 1990.
In 1984, Caris Corporation was renamed Ran Data Corporation, after the company
had acquired 78% of the shares of Monte Sala's original company
Ran Data Pty Ltd. Following the investigation for stock
manipulation in 1987, the RanData assets were sold in 1990 to GSA Technology
Ltd. and the corporation was renamed Roycol Limited. Roycol went on in the
- deListed Australia, Ran Data Corporation Limited
Retrieved December 2019.
- National Archives of Austrialia, One small step for man
NAA: A12111m 1/1966/16/102. Retrieved December 2019.
- Philip Rennie, Inventor Chases an Image Boost
16 January 1995.
- Wikipedia, Carnarvon Tracking Station
Retrieved December 2019.
- Julia Wallis, Interview with Dennis Moore
Oral History. 5 and 12 July 2013.
- P.D. Jack, The low fliers of high technology
The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 October 1984, p. 57.
- Wikipedia, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication
Retrieved December 2019.
- Crypto Museum, Operation RUBICON
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 12 December 2019. Last changed: Tuesday, 25 February 2020 - 20:24 CET.