March 30, 2005

Microsoft to use blinded sigs?

Stefan spotted a new patent awarded to Microsoft for a minor variant in blinded signatures, and added to a few other clues, muses that they may be about to launch some privacy system based on Chaumian blinding. I doubt this very much, so I'll get the skepticism up front.

Microsoft does not as a rule experiment with "new stuff" or unproven stuff. Blinded signatures in the marketplace would have to fall into the unproven category. Microsoft's role in society is to absorb borg-like the innovations of other companies, and this would be a step outside that mould. Every other time they've done the innovation thing, it has mucked up on them, and students of innovation know why.

There is a plausible theory that they will use this as a teaser for the marketplace. That would be well and good, certainly blinded signatures in use for any purpose would raise the penny stock of cryptography beyond its current de-listed level. But the real privacy question is in the architecture, and as Stefan pointed out earlier today, the challenge they will face is avoiding being caught in doublespeak, and that goes for internal architecture as much as external marketing.

Posted by iang at March 30, 2005 12:45 PM | TrackBack
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