Publishing a private key as a way to revoke it?

2018-06-05 08:23:11

Academically, I've been thinking of a system where every user has identities tied to private/public key pairs. A Web Of Trust style of verifying other users builds trust in who is who. If you want to be anonymous, just generate a new key pair and don't have anybody sign it. If these keys were used for absolutely everything in life both professionally and leisurely then a user could potentially generate a lot of keys. For one reason or another, some of these key pairs may wish to be destroyed.

If forward secrecy was always used with the key, could a method of revocation be to publicly post the private key? What downsides would this approach to revocation have?

The idea of simply publishing the private key works only if the private key is definitely not in use anymore. Apart from using forward secrecy for encryption it means that the key was never and will be never allowed to be used for digitally signing something (i.e. proof of authorship), because otherwise everyb

  • The idea of simply publishing the private key works only if the private key is definitely not in use anymore. Apart from using forward secrecy for encryption it means that the key was never and will be never allowed to be used for digitally signing something (i.e. proof of authorship), because otherwise everybody could just take this private key to impersonate someone and claim that the message has been created by the other one before the private key was published. Also, publishing the private key means that the owner still has access to the key which is not necessarily the case if his computer was stolen or compromised by the attacker.

    While one might probably construct a system were guarantees about not signing can be given it looks like your specific system is not, since there is actually signing involved to have some web of trust. But in any case it would be better if revocation would be possible without relying on such restrictions in the first place. One way would not to publ

    2018-06-05 10:11:01