Key escrow in the UK

Ben Finney ben at
Thu Jul 28 23:01:09 UTC 2005

On 28-Jul-2005, Jeremiah Foster wrote:
> After the terrible, cowardly acts by terrorists in the UK, something
> that we all deplore, there has come the request from the Police to
> escrow the private keys used in dual key encryption. Apparently,
> much of the information held on the computers that the Police seized
> were encrypted, frustrating Police efforts to easily read that
> information. 

Indeed. Useful tools are still useful to cowardly murderers.

> Now there are public calls by the Police to allow them to engage in
> key escrow

... for keys owned by those who follow the key escrow laws ...

> so that when they have to break into a computer they have the
> private key

... of those who follow the key escrow law.

Why would cowardly murdering terrorists comply with key escrow law?

> I would like to discuss this with the membership of this list and 
> fellows at the FSFE. Is it permissible to allow key escrow by the 
> authorities?

The only keys that would be escrowed would be those keys owned by
people complying with the key escrow laws. People involved in morally
heinous crimes would hardly mind breaking laws like key escrow.

Thus, the only practical effect this would have would be to make it
easier to intercept transmissions of law-abiding people, and would
impact the criminals not at all.

> Is this type of encryption too powerful to be in the hands of
> enemies of the state who take innocent lives?

Non sequitur. Laws requiring key escrow do not address that question,
as shown above.

(good sigmonster, have a cookie.)

 \              "When cryptography is outlawed, bayl bhgynjf jvyy unir |
  `\                                           cevinpl."  -- Anonymous |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney <ben at>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 197 bytes
Desc: Digital signature
URL: <>

More information about the Discussion mailing list