Trusted Time Stamping

Paul F. Doyle paul at
Tue Oct 6 11:09:40 EDT 2009

If I may contribute a perspective to this discussion...

The issue of Trusted Time Stamping can be broken down into two main points:

1.) Why might trusted timestamping be important/useful; and,

2.) How can one do it....reliably, scalability and securely (considering the
need for a forward-secure method)

There is little need to get into the second point until there is a
conclusion reached as to whether trusted timestamping may or may not be

To address the first question, the importance/usefulness of trusted
timestamping is as a mechanism for integrity.  In the legal world, the
term-of-art most near in meaning to integrity and could be called its
obverse is "authenticity".  Is authenticity important.  Yes, absolutely!  It
is the basis of the admissibility of evidence and laying a foundation for
authenticity is a burden born by the proponent of any particular piece of
evidence.  (see:

The courts, as is to be expected, trail the market, they do not lead.  A
very well informed Federal Magistrate Judge, John Facciola, does a very nice
job of explaining why this is the case.

Consider the fact that it was not until December of 2006 that the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure were finally amended to formally deal with the
issue of eDiscovery.  It is now a multi-billion dollar issue and a whole
industry has been established in a few years time.

The statement was made...

> My view is that there is no demand for this as a service.  The  
> apparent need for it is more a paper requirement that came out of  
> PKI world's search for a perfect product than any business need.

...and this is a good point.  Is there currently demand?  The answer, right
now, is, "No!", there is not large scale demand.  It can be argued that this
is because there is not a wide understanding of how technology, and
especially infosec, work.  What is the opinion of those on the list...

Is integrity important? (read data integrity)  

It might be a mistake to predict that demand for trusted time stamping will
be a linear function.


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