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Recent Readings

Book review: Darwinia
Reviewed: Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer reading: Spin
Reviewed: Saturday, August 5, 2006

Reviewed: Tuesday, July 18, 2006

the Omnivoire's Delimma
Reviewed: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

the Golem's Eye
Reviewed: Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Rethinking Public Key Infrastructures and Digital Certificates: Building in Privacy
Saturday, February 11, 2006

Rethinking Public Key Infrastructures is one of those books with a first chapter that lures you in with the false sense of security that you will understand this book and then whacks you on the head in chapter two with dozens of definitions and theorems. I have to confess that I didn't make it past chapter two (though I really wanted to) because there is some complex and beautiful stuff happening here and I just don't have the time right now to assimilate it.

The key point of Brands work is that PKI and RSA are nice but not sufficient. At issue are these three truths:

  • persistence - any data we put out there will stay out there
  • loss of control - any data out there can be used for anything
  • linkability - any data out there can be linked

PKI/RSA gives us identity management but do not separate authentication from identification. Brands frameworks are built on top of PKI/RSA but allow for certifications that act like cash, subway tokens or stamps. Rather than putting trust in Certificate Authorities, it is the certificate holders that decide what to reveal and to whom to reveal it.

This is important work and a very important topic. If you interested, you should probably subscribe to Bruce Schneier's web log as he does a great job following both academic, industry and government happenings.


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Copyright -- Gary Warren King, 2004 - 2006