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Re: To Jonathan [backdoor]

From: Jonathan S. Shapiro
Subject: Re: To Jonathan [backdoor]
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2007 09:57:02 -0500

On Tue, 2007-01-09 at 05:03 +0300, Anton Tagunov wrote:
> Hi Jonathan! May I rephrase some ideas and ask your opinion (again)?
> (I) Scenario I. Let us call the following paragraph "two freedoms"
>   J> You, as a user, are free to say
>   J> "I don't want to run anything that I cannot (transitively) inspect".
>   J> I, as a developer am free to say
>   J> "I do not choose to let you inspect my programs,
>   J> but you are free not to run them at all."
>   Marcus thinks "two-freedoms" = society shoots itself in a foot.
>   If all users run "two-freedomed" OS and Hollywood DRM
>   protects all DVDs users shall surrender.
>   Flip the coin. If everybody runs a "free" OS Hollywood shall surrender.

Perhaps and perhaps not. But this is a valid choice that society is free
to make.

> (II) Scenario II.
>   Suppose a computer hosts data of utmost importance.
>   Computer owners think the data also of utmost secrecy.
>   They use totally opaque OS + TPM + data encryption.
>   In a while soft turns out to be buggy.
>   It won't give back the data that the computer stores.
>   That's another way for the society to shoot itself in the foot.
>   We can easily imagine a resulting disaster of any magnitude -
>   from one person's life endangered (medical, criminal evidence data)
>   to humanity survival questioned (asteroid tracking data)

The situation could happen. There really are some kinds of data where
the risk of disclosure outweighs the risk of loss. The design of the
so-called "physics package" of a second stage nuclear device comes to
mind as one example.

> (III) Conclusion.
> Jonathan if you could build an utmostly secure OS
> yet having an inspection "backdoor" what would you do?

Without any hesitation whatsoever I would leave out the back door.

The problem with a back door is that it will not be used for emergency
purposes. It will be used primarily by everyday administrators and
companies for improper purposes.

Jonathan S. Shapiro, Ph.D.
Managing Director
The EROS Group, LLC
+1 443 927 1719 x5100

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