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TIS, SKE, & CyberCash Inc.

John Young <[email protected]> wrote:

> Peter Wayner writes in October BYTE on electronic documents in
> business.
> Admirably covers encryption, digital signatures,
> authentication, digital cash, timestamps and more.
> See "EDI Moves the Data", pp.121-128.
> The issue has some other mentions of crypto.

Also worthwhile is the article on page 40 which discusses Trusted
Information Systems' software-key escrow proposal.  After seeing it
I decided to hunt down the TIS Software Key Escrow paper at
ftp://ftp.tis.com/pub/crypto/ske.  It makes for interesting
reading	on the kinder, gentler, sugar-coated incarnation of key
escrow that we're likely to be seeing more of.  Sugar-coated or not,
it still has poison inside.

TIS's proposal is even more noteworthy considering their affiliation
with the CyberCash Inc. venture written about in the 09/13/94 WSJ
article posted here several days ago (ie. $whois cybercash.com = TIS).
So, one of the leading proposals for SKE comes from a company
involved with one of the leading digicash ventures.  It looks like
TIS is a company to watch.

The TIS SKE paper asserts that:

	"Key escrow cryptography has been a controversial topic since
	 it was proposed in 1993.  We believe that it is most likely
	 to be accepted for use outside of government if it is
	 authorized by legislation that sets forth the circumstances
	 under which keys may be released and the sanctions for abuse
	 of the escrow process"

Well, hell will freeze over before it is accepted by this citizen.
Those who have seen how RICO and the Forfeiture Law have run
amok in this country have no reason to feel sanguine about the
potential future abuses of key escrow.  I don't expect the statutory
limitations on its misuse to be any more reliable than the search
and seizure limitations or due process requirements of the Forth and
Fifth Amendments which have been vitiated over the past decade or so.
And the prospect that the surveillance state infrastructure which the
Friends of Big Brother (FOBBs) are trying to put into place today
will be available for potentially more tyrannical leaders that may 
appear in the future, even more inimical to liberty, privacy and 
personal sovereignty than the current ones, is not a comforting thought.