[FoRK] Looking for a unique type of encryption / protection

Aaron Burt aaron
Thu Sep 8 23:16:56 PDT 2005

On Thu, Sep 08, 2005 at 09:54:50PM -0700, Jeff Barr wrote:
> Ok Guys, time to tap the collective IQ of the FoRK...
> I was thinking that it would be very wise to make sure
> that all 7 members of my immediate family have a digital 
> copy of our vital records (photos, historic documents, bank 
> records, taxes, genealogy, funds, and so forth). A CD or USB 
> flash would be idea for this purpose.
> But let's say that if any 2 of the 7 family members decide 
> to crack open the bits, they should be allowed to do so, 
> using a key (or keys) that I have given them in advance.

Very interesting and relevant problem.  Technically, it's solved (e.g.
encrypt the data with one long key, then encrypt *that* with a bunch
of concatenated half-keys, so all any two people have to do is
concatenate their half-keys together to decrypt the actual data key.)

However, the social/UI problem is IMHO not solved.  Will it work
transparently on MacOS XII, Windows XP SP23 and Ubuntu Gerry Giraffe?

Unless it's stapled to the paper copy of the will, will anyone know
what it is and what to do with it?  How will they remember their keys,
what they mean and how they're meant to be used?

And how do you keep it (and its distributed backups) regularly updated?

Unless someone finds a way to deal with all this, the only digital
data that will hang around will be the stuff people find useful for
themselves and want to hoard and maintain.  Release a popular piece of
software, porno or music and it'll stick around.  Otherwise, bye-bye.

Maybe someone could sell data plots like grave plots.  
Or one could use a lawyer.

One'a these days, we'll lose track of what year it is,

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