CFP: PKI research workshop

Andrew Odlyzko odlyzko at
Fri Dec 28 20:54:19 EST 2001

Several of the comments about the slow uptake of PKI touch on what
seem to be two basic factors that are responsible for this phenomenon:

1.  Cryptography does not fit human life styles easily.  As an example,
truly secure systems would stop secretaries from forging their boss's
signatures, and this would bring all large beaucratic organizations to
a standstill.

2.  Novel technologies take a long time to diffuse through society.
"Internet time" is a myth.  As just one example, a news story I just
read was about the great success of online bill paying.  This is all
very well and good, but weren't we supposed to have that a long time
ago?  As a matter of fact, didn't Microsoft try to buy up Intuit back
in 1994 largely in order not to be deprived of the possibility of 
controlling online payments?  (I have two papers on this subject,
one a short one, "The myth of Internet time" that appeared in the
April 2001 issue of Technology Review, and a longer, more detailed
one, "The slow evolution of electronic publishing," published in
1997, that argue that consumer adoption rates are not noticeably
faster now than in the pre-Internet days.  Both are available on
my home page.)

Andrew Odlyzko

  -----Please note new address-----

  Andrew Odlyzko
  University of Minnesota
  Digital Technology Center
  1200 Washington Avenue South
  Minneapolis, MN 55415

  odlyzko at       email
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