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Security Portal: RSA Algorithm Released: So What?

Sep 07, 2000, 23:25 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kurt Seifried)

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"RSA formally announced that the RSA algorithm will be released into the public domain. This is definitely good news, and RSA should be applauded for their move. From an end consumer's point of view, however, this changes very little. The announcement from RSA explains why RSA Security released the RSA algorithm into the public domain early...."

"That sounds pretty good. You can now build products in the USA that use the RSA algorithm, and freely. Most people don't, though. Most people go and buy an RSA implementation from the company with the same name. Since RSA holds a copyright on this software they can still enforce licensing fees and so on."

"Using RSAREF (a reference implementation of RSA) has very restrictive licensing as well. You cannot use it in any situation that directly generates revenue. For example, a company can use OpenSSH to administer internal servers (OpenSSH uses OpenSSL, which can be compiled against RSAREF), but a university could not legally use OpenSSH to allow student to log into servers since they charge tuition, which ultimately pays for network services. Because of this restriction on RSAREF it is pointless to ship encryption products based on it. After all, a very limited subset of users would legally be able to use it."

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