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Acceptable NIS&T restrictions

If we can break away from t-shirts as munitions...

I'm going to the NIS&T session this week. I'm trying to figure out
what, if any, part of the process can be made acceptable to
those in favor of bringing US policy into the 90s. I'm not sure
that this is possilbe.

NIS&T published (and it has been reposted to the list and sci.crypt
many times) their goals. Can we make suggestions to any that
are acceptable and realistic?

Here are some of their criteria:

    "Avoiding multiple encryption -- How can the product be
     designed so as to prevent doubling (or tripling, etc.) the
     key space of the algorithm?"

CME has been suggesting DES | TRAN | DES | TRAN | DES
for years. Can they really _avoid_ (i.e. prevent) this?

    "Disabling the key escrow mechanism -- How can products be
     made resistant to alteration that would disable or
     circumvent the key escrow mechanism?  How can the "static
     patch" problem be avoided?  How can this be tested?"

This is easy in hardware. Is it even possible in software?

    "Practical Key Access -- How can mechanisms be designed so
     that repeated involvement of escrow agents is not required
     for decryption for multiple files/messages during the
     specified access period?"

At least this has a chance of being real. We need to have a suggestion
for expiration times for the escrowed keys. This was a huge problem with the
initial Clipper.

Is there a reasonable middle ground between long term keys such
as PGP uses, and the ephemeral keys of a D-H exchange?

    "Certified escrow agents -- Can products be designed so that
     only escrow agents certified by the U.S. government
     (domestic, or under suitable arrangements, foreign) are
     utilized?  What should be the criteria for an acceptable
     U.S. escrow agent?"

We all know that Tim's Flakey Key Escrow Service is most likely not
"an acceptable US escrow agent." But since CKE is a good thing, what
are the characteristics of an acceptable service to us?

I've added the discussion "topics" that NIS&T sent to participants to my
WWW pages if you want to see them all,
But I expect that most of the criteria that I edited out are
unacceptable to most on this list. Without further discussion.


Pat Farrell    Grad Student      http://www.isse.gmu.edu/students/pfarrell
Info. Systems & Software Engineering, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
PGP key available on homepage               #include <standard.disclaimer>