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New and emerging applications can change the mix of operations commonly used within computer architectures. It is sometimes surprising when instruction-set architecture (ISA) innovations intended for one purpose are used for other (initially unintended) purposes. We consider recent proposals for the processor support of families of bit-level permutations. From a processor architecture point of view, the ability to support very fast bit-level permutations may be viewed as a further validation of the basic word-orientation of processors, and their ability to support next-generation secure multimedia processing. However, bitwise permutations are also fundamental operations in many cryptographic primitives and we discuss the suitability of these new operations for cryptographic purposes.