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What problem are we trying to solve?
I think the current (and past!) discussion on the semantics of trust,
the philosophy of secure system design, and what kinds of security
applications and policies should and might exist is very interesting
and has helped increase our understanding of these very broad, very
However, I'm concerned that our discussion of the philosophy of trust
and security is so compelling and interesting that it has distracted us
from the most pressing issue at hand, which is to design a mechanism
to support a broad class of secure applications for the Internet. We
need to identify an appropriate range of real problems and design a
simple and elegant system that solves them well. We don't need to
identify and solve every possible problem that some hypothetical
application might, someday, encounter. The former task is hard
enough; the latter is likely impossible.
We designed KeyNote as part of a simple and flexible approach to
public key infrastructure as we understand the problem today across a
broad range of applications. I think this problem is important (and
urgent) enough that it deserves our attention, even if that means
forgoing solving some more general problem for now.
Our solution isn't perfect and would benefet greatly from diverse
feedback and broader experience, but I think we at least picked the