Monkey Wrench into the works

Sean Roach roach_s at
Thu Aug 28 14:29:23 PDT 1997

At 12:54 AM 8/28/97 -0400, David Jablon wrote:
>You're rebuttal to Myron's message is simplistically
>elegant, but just as wrong as the original posting.
>On 8/27/97, James A. Donald replied paraphrasing Ben Franklin,
>(who really knew very little about cryptography):
>>What one man knows, nobody knows.
>>What two men know, everyone knows.
>>Shared secrets just don't work.

Perhaps a more accurate, though less clean statement would be.
What YOU ALONE knows, nobody knows.
What YOU and ONE other person, EVERYONE MIGHT know.
Each additional person who is in on the secret opens up the possibility of

Although I deleted it for space, you mentioned Doctors.  A lot of people are
afraid to tell thier doctors everything that the doctors need to know to do
thier jobs because the patients are afraid that, as illegal as it may be,
the patients medical history may end up in the hands of insurers, employers,
prospective employers, and numerous other people who may want it but
shouldn't have it.

My dad was at a seminar where a new Scholastic Aptitude test was being
introduced.  He or someone asked if this information was going to be used to
rate the schools.  He was assured that no, it wasn't for that.  A few years
later, Oklahoma schools were being rated on the average score on that test,
after eliminating those in chapter 1 programs.  My dad's beef was that the
smaller schools couldn't afford to maintain some of those programs and would
thus, on average, score lower than they should.  The example of a secret
getting out, however, is clear.  The "secret" was given to the wrong
sub-department, and not by the schools.

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