BBCR4 on Crypto-wars today at 13:30

Ian Batten igb at
Tue Mar 18 09:15:21 GMT 2014

On 18 Mar 2014, at 08:38, Roland Perry <lists at> wrote:

> In article <53275FEE.90800 at>, Peter Fairbrother <zenadsl6186 at> writes
>> Oh, and there was (and is afaik) no power to force people to open the safe. The Courts could issue a warrant or other power so that the Police etc could open the safe, if they could - but they could not force the owner to open it.
> Are you sure that a court can't order a person to open their safe, on pain of being in contempt of court?

I suspect it doesn't matter, because there are no (for practical purposes) safes which cannot be opened given large, but achievable, resources if you have physical access to the safe.   Very secure storage facilities (the safe in Area 51 where they keep the alien autopsy report) don't rely on super-sekrit safes that governments can't break into, they rely on defence in depth with fences, dogs, laws, CCTV and men with guns.   The problem safe-crackers have is not in opening the safe, but in opening the safe without being detected before they finish the job.  

Whereas with crypto it's possible to secure material such that no amount of resource can decrypt it.  In principle it's trivial, but we're all grown-up enough to know that key management and practical issues of implementation make it distinctly non-trivial.  However, it's certainly possible.


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