Comments on PGP5.0 OCR (was Re: fyi, pgp source now available , internationally)

Alan alan at
Mon Aug 11 17:23:31 PDT 1997

On Mon, 11 Aug 1997, Ray Arachelian wrote:

> On Mon, 11 Aug 1997 nospam-seesignature at wrote:
> > Not quite.  If you read closely, the EAR says something about reserving
> > judgment on OCR publications.  You didn't use a specific OCR font, but you
> > did put all kinds of other OCR helps in, which should by itself cloud the
> > issue.  It would be nice if it was resolved.
> Um, how about a CRC for every character of every line published
> electronically?  (hehehhe...  Oh, and of course we'll use 32 bit CRC's of
> 8 bit characters, of course...)
> Hidden text of this message not visible to feds for those without
> imagination: (yeah, right) all one would need is to build a table of 255
> CRC's, take the 32 bit CRC code and reverse lookup the data. :) 

This sounds absurd but similar things have happened.

The translation team for the Dead Sea Scrolls tried to keep the actual
texts secret so they would be the only ones with the "Official"
translation.  They did, however, publish tables of what words were used
and their location for use by researchers.  A couple of them got the idea
to use the lookup table to reconstruct the text.  The results were a copy
of the original text.  (Needless to say, the "official" translation team
was quite upset.)  It did finally result in the publication of the
scrolls, since the information had been "leaked".

[This sounds like something from RISKS...]

I wonder if it is legal to provide comprehensive cross-references of code.
(Probably not, as the laws seem to be formulated under the legal principle
of "I win, You lose".

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