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Angry Mob Cryptanalysis

Democratic alternative to key escrow
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The key escrow debate appears to be over (and we seem to have won, or at least the government hasn't mentioned it lately), but here's a half-baked solution to the problem that I proposed a few years ago.

Split up your key with a "threshold secret-sharing" scheme that creates, say, 5000 shares where any 500 of them can be put together to reconstruct the key. Send one share to each of 5000 randomly selected people on the 'net (who presumably have some kind of server set up for dealing with this). Don't write down who you sent the shares to.

If you need to recover your key, broadcast a message to the entire world that says "Hey, I need my key back. Anyone with shares, please send them to me". Once 500 of your original 5000 shareholders respond to the broadcast, you've got your key back. (Maybe offer a reward to encourage responses).

The point of all this is that while anyone can recover a key, no one can do it *secretly*. Law enforcement could also get keys to decrypt suspected criminals' files, but only in a way that's open to public scrutiny.

There are a bunch of details needed to make this work; some of them were worked out in my paper at the First Cambridge Information Hiding workshop in 1996. I've linked to it in the links section, below

mab, Mar 03 2000

Oblivious Key Escrow paper http://www.crypto.c...apers/netescrow.tex
My paper on this (Latex format) [mab, Mar 03 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Oblivious Key Escrow paper http://www.crypto.c...apers/netescrow.pdf
same as above in (rather ugly) pdf [mab, Mar 03 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]

broadcast cryptanalysis http://www.halfbake...ast%20cryptanalysis
Another distributed cryptology idea, posted by "dnm" [mab, Mar 03 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]

E -- Open Source Distributed Capabilities http://www.erights.org/
The E toolkit is implimented in Java and has a lot of cool uses. Watch this space. [dnm, Mar 03 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]

[link]






       This fits right in with some projects I'm working on right now, including electronic rights as capability-based code. I'll see if I can't hack something up soon for everyone to play with. Watch this space.
dnm, Mar 04 2000
  
      
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