2000 Conferences

6th CACR Information Security Workshop
1st Annual Privacy and Security Workshop

Stefan Brands, Zero-Knowledge Systems

Rethinking Public Key Infrastructures -- Building in Privacy

Digital certificates are widely perceived to be the foundation for safeguarding electronic communications and transactions. The prevailing approach to digital certificates and Public Key Infrastructures, however, ignores the privacy rights of individuals, groups, and organizations. Digital certificates can be followed, traced, and linked instantaneously as they move around. Unless drastic measures are taken, individuals will soon be forced to communicate and transact in what could be the most pervasive electronic surveillance system ever built. This presentation explains the dangers, and outlines a privacy-protecting alternative that is beneficial to both individuals and organizations, not only with respect to privacy but also in terms of efficiency and security.

Speaker Bio
Dr. Stefan Brands is a senior cryptographer with Montreal-based Zero-Knowledge Systems. He specializes in privacy-protecting PKIs, digital identity authentication systems and electronic cash. He earned his Ph.D. from the Technical University of Eindhoven for his thesis "Rethinking Public Key Infrastructures and Digital Certificates--Building in Privacy," which was recently published in updated form by MIT Press. The committee that awarded him his doctorate included Adi Shamir (Weizmann Institute of Science), Ronald L. Rivest (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Claus Schnorr (University of Frankfurt am Main). The electronic cash system he published in 1993 forms the core of a full-fledged system implemented and tested by CAFE, an ESPRIT project with 13 academic and commercial member organizations from seven European countries. Dr. Brands is the owner of eight international patents on electronic cash and digital certificates, and is an adjunct professor at McGill university.