secure phone (was Re: Starium...)

Peter Gutmann pgut001 at
Thu Jun 7 05:23:00 EDT 2001

William Allen Simpson <wsimpson at> writes:

>OK, it seems to me that all the pieces are already in place.  Maybe I'm
>biased, but IETF already has specifications that cover the wish list.

I hate to sound like a pessimist, but I can't imagine this ever happening. 
This sort of thing has been around since (at least) brew-a-stu in the early
'90s, and seems to come up again every few years (and then fade out after 6-12
months).  Every time the people involved eventually find that while the general
details are easy enough to sort out, getting a finished implementation done
take an awful lot of effort (the first 90% of the work takes 90% of the time
and money, the remaining 9% takes the other 90%, and the final 1% takes the
third 90%).

Given that most people are going to be sitting at PCs or have laptops with
them, what's wrong with Nautilus (or whatever) and a headset plugged into their
sound card (in the worst case you can tunnel $generic_internet_talk_software
over ssh or SSL with CPU power to spare)?  Most users have already got most of
the hardware at hand, is it worth the effort to design a special-case secure
phone for a market which seems to be fairly limited?


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