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Crypto Archives: Re: Electronic envelopes

Re: Electronic envelopes

Mok-Kong Shen (mok-kong.shent-online.de)
Tue, 28 Sep 1999 07:45:02 +0200

jeromepsti.com wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 27, 1999 at 07:26:42PM +0200, Mok-Kong Shen wrote:
> >
> > > it is assumed to be illegal to distribute the key before.
> > > Doing a illegal act is assumed not to be fun by itself.
> >
> > Well, if one assumed that everybody obeys the law and all people
> > believe that, then on could just as well deposited a diskette
> > containing the plaintext of the document at the notary.
> i don't assume that everybody to the law, i assume they don't
> do illegal things without a reasonnable expectation to make
> profit.
> if i dont know the purpose of the key, i won't risk to do
> something illegal with good chances to be caugth just for fun.
> it seems a reasonnable assumption to me :)

I am afraid what we are discussing now would be critisized for being
off-topic. But let me venture once more (the last time!) to say a few
words in support of my viewpoint about the in-effectiveness of law in
the present context nonetheless. Firstly, it is known that at least
part of the hackers do their work not for profit but for fun or for
some 'ideology'. Secondly, the estimated profit-risk ratio varies
from individual to individual, depending on one's experience, ways
of thinking, current status, means and resources available, etc.
Thirdly, the risk is likely to be constant in many cases, e.g. being
sentenced to a certain number of years in jail (in most countries
there is a maximum for each type of crimes), while the profit
in the present case depends on the value of the secrets involved.
Fouthly, there are psychologically abnormal persons, including at
least part of those who comit suicide. So we can't simply depend on
law enforcement in the present case to guarantee that everything
runs o.k.

Some additional words in response to your two later follow-ups:
(1) If a multi-multi-millionar chooses to use such a scheme, I suppose
most people would bet that the value of the secret is higher than
some hundred of thousands of dollars. (2) The probability of two
randomly chosen people in the world meet is very low as you said,
but in the present case one (or both) of them has a strong motivation
to seek the other. It could also be the case that one is an employee
of a certain agency that use to tape phone calls and can thus easily
acquire some helpful informations towards his goal.

My sincere apology to all those who dislike non-technical or
political and other such discussions in this group. But I suppose
this post serves to close my dialog with Jerome on the current topic
about law. (I will only reply to further agruments of Jerome on
this topic via direct e-mail to him.)

M. K. Shen

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