Key escrow in the UK

Jeremiah Foster jeremiah.foster at
Fri Jul 29 10:11:53 UTC 2005

On Jul 29, 2005, at 1:01 AM, Ben Finney wrote:

> > On 28-Jul-2005, Jeremiah Foster wrote:

>  > 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.

There could be an enforced key-recovery, which would apply to all keys. 
This is from the first article you pointed to - "Attempts to force the 
widespread adoption of key-recovery encryption through export controls, 
import or domestic use regulations, or international standards should 
be considered in light of these factors. "

So in fact these experts recommend considering enforced key-recovery. 
And even Schneier is not coming out directly against the police request 
for key-recovery, rather stating that the police already have laws 
sufficient to detain the suspect while they brute force the key.

> 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.

Not true. If you had a key recovery mechanism, you could quickly 
recovery the key and encrypted information, thus potentially saving 
lives. Look at the situation today, the police suspect another attack 
with innocent people killed is imminent, oughtn't there be a mechanism 
to prevent this needless death?

Jeremiah Foster

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