Intuitive cryptography that's also practical and secure.

Steven M. Bellovin smb at
Tue Jan 30 16:41:08 EST 2007

On Tue, 30 Jan 2007 16:10:47 -0500 (EST)
"Leichter, Jerry" <leichter_jerrold at> wrote:


> | 
> | ...There's an obvious cryptographic solution, of course: publish the
> | hash of any such documents.  Practically speaking, it's useless.
> | Apart from having to explain hash functions to lawyers, judges,
> | members of Congress, editorial page writers, bloggers, and talk
> | show hosts,... 

> This is a common misconception.  The legal system does
> not rely on lawyers, judges, members of Congress, and so on
> understanding how technology or science works.  It doesn't rely on
> them coming to accept the trustworthiness of the technology on any
> basis a technologist would consider reasonable.  All it requires is
> that they accept the authority of experts in the subject area, and
> that those experts agree "strongly enough" that the mechanism is
> sound.

I don't dispute your analysis.  However, this case is not just a legal
one, it's a political issue, which is why I spoke of "editorial page
writers, bloggers, and talk show hosts".  All it will take is for
enough technically-skilled conspiracy theorists to raise the issue of
hash function collisions and NSA, and we won't hear the end of it for
decades to come.  (Did you know that President Kennedy was actually
killed by a large prime factor discovered by the CIA...?)

		--Steve Bellovin,

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