Re: The Onion on Lava Lamps

From: Aaron Swartz (
Date: Thu Feb 15 2001 - 17:57:53 PST

Jeff Bone <> wrote:

> Assume: some form of remote measurement of a data source for which
> independent but synchronized measurements yield an identical stream of bits
> independent of the observer's location. (I'm thinking of a variety of
> measurements that can be performed on stars, for example.)
> If one can communicate an observation schedule using a secure channel ---
> perhaps out of band, perhaps initially using a predistributed one-time pad ---
> then one has an infinite, renewable one time pad. You solve the one time pad
> distribution problem.
> Just a random, ticklish thought that's been bugging me for a while.
> Anybody seen this before? It's pretty obvious, but people will patent
> anything these days.

Yeah, this came up on the cypherpunks list a while back during my short
stint over there. The person there suggested monitoring TV stations, but it
was pretty clear that this could have widespread use.

Actually, the idea suggested there was slightly different: that you'd
communicate the observation schedule using a hard-to-break code, which, by
the time it was broken, the thing you were observing would already have
occurred, thus foiling your enemy.

Of course, if you're up against a big enemy, and they know the type of
observation you're doing then they can do the equivalent of a brute force
search (record all TV stations, measure all stars, etc.).

[ Aaron Swartz | | ]

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