In October, the European Commission proposed that member states should share encryption information to prevent the need for encryption ‘backdoors’. The RH Amber Rudd MP has asked that creators of messaging apps ‘do more to help the authorities access messages on end-to-end encrypted services.’ All this debate has honourable intentions – everyone’s worried that encryption helps terrorists conceal themselves. But ditching it isn’t the answer – do that and we open the floodgates to cyber-crime. Share it, and we expose broader swathes of information to the same risk.
The world today does need encryption, and we have a solution that can please everyone.
Light Blue is a true end-to-end encryption system, but – distinctively – has two recipients for each message. There’s the primary recipient, who gets the message immediately, and there’s a government of the sender’s choice, who must wait for it. Crucially, the government in question knows from the outset that they have access, should they require it. Suddenly, it’s easier to spot the people who have something to hide.
A Matryoshka doll, also known as a Russian nesting doll, refers to a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other.
The Light Blue overlocking model is like a set of cryptographic Matryoshka dolls. The innermost doll represents the customer’s unencrypted data. This is placed inside another doll, locked by the customer’s private key. This is placed inside another doll, locked by the government’s private key. This is placed inside another doll, locked by the referee’s private key. For a government to gain access, the referee must first unlock their doll. The government can then unlock theirs, and thus gain access to the customer’s key.
This approach can be repeated for any number of layers, provided the data is always the innermost doll, and the referee is always the outermost one. This is Matryoshka overlocking. And it could be the very thing that answers the encryption debate.
Steve Asher is the CTO of Mineral Blue, and the technical director of QEM Solutions. Steve is in Mandurah, Western Australia.
Mineral Blue is supplied to the oil & gas and mining markets by QEM Solutions, 1 Telford Mews, Beattock, Moffat, Scotland, DG10 9SG
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