1997-02-26 - Re: Distributed cracks, law, and cryptoanarchy

Header Data

From: “Timothy C. May” <tcmay@got.net>
To: Greg Broiles <marc@cygnus.com>
Message Hash: 60c253eab4f6e7cfef5e16026e0ae4d826275eac54574745bee3753ff94f891b
Message ID: <v03007802af3a1dec5f41@[]>
Reply To: <t53k9nx28nx.fsf@rover.cygnus.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-02-26 17:04:49 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 09:04:49 -0800 (PST)

Raw message

From: "Timothy C. May" <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 09:04:49 -0800 (PST)
To: Greg Broiles <marc@cygnus.com>
Subject: Re: Distributed cracks, law, and cryptoanarchy
In-Reply-To: <t53k9nx28nx.fsf@rover.cygnus.com>
Message-ID: <v03007802af3a1dec5f41@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

First, I won't express any more opinions about the DES crack and whether it
"ought" to be coordinated or uncoordinated. Second, Greg's point brings up
something very interesting:

At 7:34 AM -0800 2/26/97, Greg Broiles wrote:

>others, too. The value of the $10K prize alone isn't that attractive,
>because with puny hardware it's a very long shot, and with meaningful
>hardware, the cost of the hardware dwarfs the value of the prize.

Interestingly for the _contract_ discussion, it is likely that many of
those participating are not the _owners_ of the hardware on which the crack
software is being run. For example, the hardware is owned by universities
(and hence maybe taxpayers), corporations, government labs, etc.

The whole notion of "stealing cycles" is the key to the crack. as it were.

(Sure, in some cases the owners sort of know that spare cycles are being
used, or that "something" is going on. And the cycles may indeed be
spare...but in some cases the DES crack may materially slow down other
users...not my main point, though.)

So, do those making a "contract" with the crack challenge organizers have
the legal power to do so? Did the University of California waive its share
of the prize if the Network of Workstations, for example, finds the key?

Will we see "stego cracking," where people hide their intentions so that if
the cycles they steal win a prize, they won't have to answer to their
employers? Or, worse, share the prize? (Or give up the prize completely, as
seems likely under existing case law.)

--Tim May

Just say "No" to "Big Brother Inside"
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that that ain't allowed.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."