CFP: PKI research workshop

Bill Stewart bill.stewart at
Fri Dec 28 17:21:20 EST 2001

SST is the SuperSonic Transport; I think the term was specific
to US attempts to build something like the Concorde, but it may have
been more generic.  Among other problems (making it work, sonic booms,
economics in general), use of fast airplanes in non-military airspace
was limited by the capabilities of the air-traffic control systems,
which couldn't really handle airplanes that fast.
It's much easier to build supersonic airplanes for the military,
where you're not concerned about price per passenger-mile.

Except for airports and amusement parks, the only place I've seen
a monorail is in Seattle.  (I'm counting Las Vegas as an amusement park :-)
Airports similarly don't follow normal economic rules,
because they can often scam money out of government authorities,
who will often do stuff because it Looks Cool.
There may be economic niches where monorails make sense
(streets that are too narrow to add pillars for conventional
elevated railways, perhaps), but they're pretty limited.

Until recently I was the Regional ATM Specialist for
one of the offshoots of The Phone Company that did the
PicturePhones at the World's Fair back in the 60s :-)
Web cams are widely available, but they're still not how
most people make their phone calls, and it did take
30-40 years before they finally became economical.
ATM also has a fairly wide economic niche, though routers
have caught up with the big end of the performance curve,
and it always was too complex to win at the desktop end.

PKIs are quite simple and low cost to implement -
the problems are finding a way to make them widely useful.
Unfortunately, that hasn't matched most PKI companies'
business plans that promised World Domination to their VCs :-)
And even among the people who adopt crypto because it Looks Cool,
the last time I looked through the Web Of Trust on the PGP keyservers,
most keys were either unsigned or only signed by a couple of people,
not enough to build a big connected graph.


At 07:34 PM 12/28/2001 +0000, Phillip Hallam-Baker wrote:
>Let us see.
>     Monorails are commonplace in airports these days.
>     Web cams for online chat are used by millions of teenagers
>     SST ? What is that
>         Phill
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Peter Gutmann <pgut001 at>
>To: crawdad at <crawdad at>; cryptography at
><cryptography at>; spki at
><spki at>
>Date: 27 December 2001 21:42
>Subject: Re: CFP: PKI research workshop
> >>As I never tire of saying, "PKI is the ATM of security."
> >
> >Naah, it's the monorail/videophone/SST of security.  Looks great at the
> >Fair, but a bit difficult to turn into a reality outside the fairgrounds.
> >
> >Peter (who would like to say that observation was original, but it was
> >       stolen from Scott Guthery).
> >
> >
> >---------------------------------------------------------------------
> >The SPKI Mailing List
> >Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe spki" to majordomo at
> >
>The Cryptography Mailing List
>Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe cryptography" to 
>majordomo at

The Cryptography Mailing List
Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe cryptography" to majordomo at

More information about the cryptography mailing list