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From: ygo...@edison.seas.ucla.edu (The Jester)
Newsgroups: sci.crypt,alt.security.pgp
Subject: Public Key for the Rest Of Us
Message-ID: <8103@lee.SEAS.UCLA.EDU>
Date: 18 Sep 92 09:17:26 GMT
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Since it seems rsa can not really be used by the American public
because of it's proprietary status and since it also seems that the
upcomming standard from the u.s. government has more holes than your
average slice of swiss cheese (anything the NSA or DoD touches, I
try to stay away from) is it possible for a third party of good will
(i.e. just about anyone on internet) to establish their OWN form of
public key encryption using the fundamental idea of factoring a
large number into it's component primes WITHOUT violating any
patents or proprietary interests? In other words, can we actually
get math without a patent?
Whats next, are they going to declare fire proprietary?
"Sorry, you can't rub those stones together,
fire is a patented process!"
The Jester
--
The Jester
"It's because somebody knows something about it that we can't
talk about physics. It's the things that nobody knows anything
about we can discuss."- Richard Feynman

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From: dre...@beirut.berkeley.edu (Roland Dreier)
Newsgroups: sci.crypt
Subject: Re: Public Key for the Rest Of Us
Followup-To: sci.crypt
Date: 18 Sep 92 11:32:11
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In-reply-to: ygoland@edison.seas.ucla.edu's message of 18 Sep 92 09:17:26 GMT
In article <81...@lee.SEAS.UCLA.EDU>
ygo...@edison.seas.ucla.edu (The Jester) writes:
Since it seems rsa can not really be used by the American public
because of it's proprietary status and since it also seems that the
upcomming standard from the u.s. government has more holes than your
average slice of swiss cheese (anything the NSA or DoD touches, I
try to stay away from) is it possible for a third party of good will
(i.e. just about anyone on internet) to establish their OWN form of
public key encryption using the fundamental idea of factoring a
large number into it's component primes WITHOUT violating any
patents or proprietary interests? In other words, can we actually
get math without a patent?
Apparently, RSA believes their patent covers all forms of public-key
cryptography. So the answer to your question appears to be no: if you
come up with a cryptosystem that has the desirable properties of a
public-key system, RSA will threaten you with a lawsuit. Also, I have
not heard of any holes in the new gov. standard (I assume you are talking
about the DSS, which is just a signature standard)-- what have you heard?
By the way, I find it very strange that people are willing to use MD5 and
complain about the patent status of IDEA. MD5 comes from PKP, after all,
and even if they are generous with how they let you use MD5, look at the
way the administer the patent on public-key cryptosystems (e.g. RPEM--
Rest in Peace...even PGP is highly restricted).
--
Roland Dreier dre...@math.berkeley.edu

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From: tc...@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Newsgroups: sci.crypt
Subject: Re: Public Key for the Rest Of Us
Message-ID: <gy3nbtg.tcmay@netcom.com>
Date: 18 Sep 92 19:43:54 GMT
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Roland Dreier (dre...@beirut.berkeley.edu) wrote:
: Apparently, RSA believes their patent covers all forms of public-key
: cryptography. So the answer to your question appears to be no: if you
: come up with a cryptosystem that has the desirable properties of a
: public-key system, RSA will threaten you with a lawsuit. Also, I have
RSA holds the U.S. patent on using the difficulty of factoring large
numbers for crypto, just as Trimble Navigation now holds the U.S.
patent on using the Pythagorean Theorem for computing locations.
(Students are allowed to _experiment_ with the Pythagorean Theorem,
provided the theorem is neither used commercially nor exported.)
I have heard that a bootleg program, "Pretty Good Pythagoras" is
available from an anonymous ftp site in Greece (of all places!). No
word yet from Trimble on their lawsuit.
P.S. Seriously, I think the U.S. has set a bad precedent by allowing
mathematical discoveries to be patented. Diffie, Hellman, Merkle,
Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman deserve fame and riches, but not by having
the basic idea of trap door one-way functions patented! Ironically, I
bought a copy of RSA's "MailSafe." If RSA more aggressively marketed
it, and ported it other systems (like the Mac!), it might be more of a
market success. As it is, I expect to be using PGP 2.0 very soon now,
as all my friends are getting it (and only one has bought MailSafe,
besides me!).
--
..........................................................................
Timothy C. May | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tc...@netcom.com | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409 | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | RSA MailSafe Public Key: by arrangement