The Risks of Key Recovery, Key Escrow, and Trusted Third-Party Encryption

Harold Abelson, Ross Anderson, Steven M. Bellovin, Josh Benaloh, Matt Blaze, Whitfield Diffie, John Gilmore, Peter G. Neumann, Ronald L. Rivest, Jeffrey I. Schiller, Bruce Schneier


A variety of "key recovery," "key escrow," and "trusted third-party" encryption requirements have been suggested in recent years by government agencies seeking to conduct covert surveillance within the changing environments brought about by new technologies. This report examines the fundamental properties of these requirements and attempts to outline the technical risks, costs, and implications of deploying systems that provide government access to encryption keys.


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