[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Nightmare Scenario: Public Key Distribution Controlled

"Distribute a key, go to prison."

How does the New World Order limit the use of strong crypto without "key
recovery" when so many copies of older, pre-ban crypto are already out

Simple, by declaring that public keys themselves are crypto material, as
the Brits did in their Trusted Third Parties draft proposal, and hence
declaring that distribution of keys after the effective date of the
legislation constitutes a violation. Give someone your key, either by
placing it on keyservers or even by mailing it to them, and one has just
"distributed" crypto.

This will make the public key infrastructure essentially useless, as the
public key servers go down, as corporations yank any directories they may
have, and (possibly) as individuals stop putting PGP or S/MIME fingerprints
or pointers in their messages.

How possible is this? Recall that the British proposal formally classified
key material, the keys themselves, as cryptographic products. The language
of the current unSAFE and Procto-CODE draconian bills, still changing of
course as committees rewrite them to be more Big Brotherish, is vague on
what constitutes crypto.

If language is inserted making keys part of the bills, or if
"interpretations" by Defense, Commerce, etc. make this determination, then
there goes the infrastructure, even for already-distributed keys.

Sure, underground use will continue. And those with PGP, and keys, may well
have  a reasonable defense in court, arguing that the program *and* the
keys they used were already in their possession prior to the effective date
of the legislation.

But the effect would be chilling to almost any normal use of these programs.

This is my latest nightmare scenario.

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."