Cypherpunk - Activities - Expert Panels

Expert Panels

Cypherpunks also participated, along with other experts, in several reports on cryptographic matters.

One such paper was Minimal Key Lengths for Symmetric Ciphers to Provide Adequate Commercial Security. It suggested 75 bits was the minimum key size to allow an existing cipher to be considered secure and kept in service. At the time, the Data Encryption Standard with 56-bit keys was still a US government standard, mandatory for some applications.

Other papers were critical analysis of government schemes. The Risks of Key Recovery, Key Escrow, and Trusted Third-Party Encryption, evaluated escrowed encryption proposals. Comments on the Carnivore System Technical Review. looked at an FBI scheme for monitoring email.

Cypherpunks provided significant input to the 1996 National Research Council report on encryption policy, Cryptography's Role In Securing the Information Society (CRISIS) This report, commissioned by the U.S. Congress in 1993, was developed via extensive hearings across the nation from all interested stakeholders, by a committee of talented people. It recommended a gradual relaxation of the existing U.S. government restrictions on encryption. Like many such study reports, its conclusions were largely ignored by policy-makers. Later events such as the final rulings in the cypherpunks lawsuits forced a more complete relaxation of the unconstitutional controls on encryption software.

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