[messaging] Value of deniability

Peter Gutmann pgut001 at cs.auckland.ac.nz
Sat Dec 13 03:24:15 PST 2014

Eleanor Saitta <ella at dymaxion.org> writes:

>Has anyone ever seen a case where cryptographic deniability was accepted by a
>judge?  As far as I can tell, its legal value is a fiction from the
>cryptographic community.

I've really been trying to avoid getting sucked into this discussion, but I
have to make at least a brief comment: "(technical) deniability" is a geek
fantasy that's about as realistic as technical nonrepudiation.  The most that
you're going to achieve by trying to go down this route in court is to annoy
the judge (particularly if presented using the typical geek "I'm smarter than
you, you can't touch me" attitude), which isn't going to help your prospects
much.  If anyone wants to see what "technical deniability" will get them in
court, go talk to a prosecutor or criminal defence lawyer.  You know, the
people who actually know about this stuff but who (AFAIK) have been totally
absent from the current discussion thread.


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