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29 September 2007. NSA has released four additional NSE documents:
3 March 2007. Add appeal to NSA to release withheld information.
1 March 2007
The National Security Agency has released under FOIA nine crypto papers in response to a request for informaton on Non-Secret Encryption filed in October 1999. Three of the papers were formerly classified Top Secret Codeword, one was formerly classified Secret and were declassified for this request.
For a description of Non-Secret Encryption see "The Story of Non-Secret Encryption," J. H. Ellis.
NSA wrote that this is an initial release and additional documents may be provided later. The documents were received on 28 February 2007, scanned and converted to PDF.
All nine PDFs: http://cryptome.org/nsa-nse/nsa-nse-01.zip (3.6MB)
Duncan Campbell on the CESG non-secret encryption papers and Whitfield Diffie (April 1999):
According to Bruce Schneier, a leading open cryptographer, "the Ellis case is a useful tool to examine the interplay between the idea of a "secret" mathematics inside the walls of the spooks, and the open maths outside. I have heard many anecdotes about how the walls seem to have had to been breached, both ways, as key ideas in number theory moved forward on one side or the other. The Ellis/Diffie case becomes a special case with a highly applied and relevant result".
Schneier asks "If the British found public-key encryption in the late 1960s sixties, as well as essentially the RSA algorithm a few years later, the question arises - did they keep it to themselves, perhaps delaying the end of the Cold War?"
Related British CESG papers:
"The History of Non-Secret Encryption," by J. H. Ellis, 1987 (made public in December 1997)
http://www.cesg.gov.uk/site/publications/media/ellis.pdf (HTML version with CESG introduction in December 1997)
"A Note on Non-Secret Encryption'," by C. C. Cocks, 20 November 1973
"Non-Secret Encryption Using a Finite Field," by M J Williamson, 21 January 1974
Thoughts on Cheaper Non-Secret Encryption," M J Williamson, 10 August 1976
http://cryptome.org/ukpk-diffie.htm (Whitfield Diffie message and others, with Cryptome's initial FOIA to NSA)
http://jya.com/nsam-160.htm (message on Whitfield Diffie and the origin of NSE and public key cryptography)
Document ID Number
|-||-||NSA Letter to Cryptome||Louis Giles||13 February 2007||3||159KB|
|3097960||TOP SECRET//COMINT-UMBRA/NOFORN/X1||ELLIPTIC CURVE CRYPTOSYSTEM (ECC)||-||-||3||131KB|
|3097962||SECRET||THE AUTHENTICATION PROBLEM||J H ELLIS||21 December 1977||7||286KB|
|3097964||- [An HTML version of this document is available online, with bibliography]||THE STORY OF NON-SECRET ENCRYPTION||J H ELLIS||||5||333KB|
|3097965||CONFIDENTIAL||An Identity Based Public Key System||Clifford Cocks||2 April 1998||5||204KB|
|3097966||CONFIDENTIAL//MR||Modular PKI Status Report||-||9 September 1997||24||1.2MB|
|3097967||-||A Digital Signature Scheme Constructed with Error-Correcting Codes||LI Yuanxing
|30 March 1993||12||383KB|
|3097968||For Official Use Only||A New Public-Key Cryptosystem base on kth-power Residues||CAO Zhen-Fu||June 1991||11||430KB|
|3098063||TOP SECRET UMBRA LACONIC NOCON||Appendix VII: Public Key Systems||-||-||5||377KB|
|3101775||TOP SECRET UMBRA||A Proposal for Unclassified Public Key Signature and Key Exchange Standards||-||20 October 1989||9||258KB|
CRYPTOME 251 WEST 89TH ST SUITE 6E NEW YORK NY 10024 212-873-8700
March 3, 2007 By mail
and fax to: (301) 688-4762
NSA/CSS FOIA Appeal Authority (DC34)
National Security Agency
9800 Savage Road, Suite 6248
Ft. George G. Meade, MD 20755-6248
Re FOIA Case: 19136D
This is an appeal of a denial of access by Louis F. Giles, Director of Policy, dated February 13, 2007, for information deleted from documents provided and nine documents (163 pages) withheld in their entirety on the topic of non-secret encryption, better known as public key cryptography (PKC). The material provided by Mr. Giles has been published on the website Cryptome.org.
Public key cryptography is likely the most widespread technology for information security today, as asserted in one of the documents provided. NSA information on the technology not yet in the public domain would be exceptionally important to advance PKC technology by cryptographers to assure its reliability in the face of attacks which are growing as the technology's use increases.
It is now 37 years since the invention of public key encryption and few cryptosystems remain invulnerable for such a period, particularly one that is in widespread use with a plethora of variable-quality implementations, and thus an attractively lucrative target for cryptanalysis. There may be vulnerabilities in PKC technology not publicized in order to exploit ignorance while sustaining confidence in the technology, a deceptive practice well known in the field of cryptography.
Or there may be strengths which are not publicly known but if revealed would enhance public confidence in the cryptosystem, and even lead to further strengthening by the burgeoning cryptographic profession against equally burgeoning cryptanalytic attacks.
Thank you very much for considering and granting this appeal.