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R, S, and A did not invent RSA
Posted Mar 23, 2009 17:11 UTC (Mon) by zooko (subscriber, #2589)
But actually the point that the original commentator -- Kevin Luo -- made wasn't that patents led to the *invention* of public key cryptography, but rather to the *commercialization* of public key cryptography. Having been involved in that field during that era, as an amateur enthusiast and as a professional, I would think that the RSA patent inhibited commercialization of public key cryptography more than it facilitated it, but it is hard to tell. Other people, including people who had more experience than me, might come to the opposite conclusion.
Posted Mar 23, 2009 20:28 UTC (Mon) by MattPerry (guest, #46341)
That's not correct according to link you gave.
Posted Mar 27, 2009 20:24 UTC (Fri) by jd (guest, #26381)
I would be inclined to say, then, that the case for patents helping public key crypto is - as the Scots would say - "case unproven". Whatever examples there might be for RSA's patent helping things, it looks to me like there are just as many examples where RSA's patent inhibited work and where work was exported to where the patent issues didn't apply.
GCHQ dropping the ball doesn't sound that unusual to me, and from what very little I know of British military and intelligence encryption practices of the time, they seemed to be using synchronized one-time pads which, I assume, means there was additional randomness in the form of what bits of tape were actually used. If I'm right on that, public key might well have looked weaker than what they already had. (Whether it was is dependent on what they actually did in practice, and I don't see GCHQ being too forthcoming on that even when the 50 year rule is up.)
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