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Re: Certification Authorities in history.
On Sun, 8 Oct 1995, Bill Stewart wrote:
> Timothy C. May (or somebody like him, or Tim the Enchanted) wrote:
> >> The talk of certification authorities is OK, so long as the practice is
> >> _completely_ and "strongly" voluntary (*).
> It occurred to me that the authors of the US Constitution had
> direct experience with the equivalent of mandatory certification hierarchies
> for legally acceptable digital signatures.
> They called it "The Stamp Act".
> If you wanted to make a legal document, such as a contract or will,
> it needed to be on paper with a tax stamp on it; I forget if this was
> a watermark or a stick-on stamp, but you could only get it from the authorities.
> They didn't like it. There was also a few-percent sales tax on tea around
> that time. They didn't like that either :-)
But their principal reason for disliking it was "Taxation without
representation." Today, you get to vote on those who decide on taxes,
unlike the colonists ....