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patent office and key recovery

Steve Bellovin <[email protected]> posted this to cryptography:
Today's NY Times had an article on how the U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office is gearing up for electronic filing of patent and trademark
(http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/week/012698patents.html).  Since
patent applications here are confidential, filings must be encrypted.
And of course, one of the things holding up deployment -- of a system
where a government agency is the legitimate recipient of the message --
is the "need" for key recovery.

	"The agency wants to include a "key recovery" system in the
	software in case the encryption has to be broken."

The mind boggles.