This article is about data encryption. There's a new method being researched at Harvard. I thought it was interesting os here's the story. Taken fromNewsfactor

Last week, a U.S. District Court told the Justice Department that it could keep its keystroke-logging technology under wraps, even as the Feds used information gathered by the snoopware as evidence in the trial of alleged Mafia defendant Nicodemo Scarfo, Jr.

While the government uncovered Scarfo's password for an encryption program called PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), a new form of encryption key generation being developed by a Harvard University professor may be upping the stakes for government cybersleuths.

Now the edge may belong to users in a new encryption key scheme.

Erasable Keys

An encryption scheme reportedly in development by Harvard professor Michael Rabin and electrical engineer Woody Yang may usher in the next level of secrecy, using keys that are nearly impossible to duplicate and resulting in messages that disappear.

Forrester senior analyst Frank Prince told NewsFactor that the idea for an improved key generation scheme and better encryption shows a great deal of promise.

"If you get a key by applying a rule about sensing the environment, then the key only exists when the rule is applied to the environment," Prince said. "You could store it or not. It would only have to exist while you used it. You would have to know the rules and have the environment data to create the key."

Keys Of All Kinds

Possibilities for "environment data" in the scheme being created by Harvard's Rabin include satellite, Internet, cellular telephone and television broadcast transmissions, according to a report in New Scientist magazine.

Prince said a similar technique is already employed in encryption systems that use "session keys" -- encryption keys for short-term use that are thrown away after the session is over.

"This would be a great method for session key generation," he said.

Satellite Secrets

Professor Rabin reportedly envisions a variety of satellites that could broadcast random bits of data to be used as the keys. By producing more packets than could possibly be stored, the satellite system would provide a flow of public encryption keys that could be used by anyone in the world.

While he said the idea could present a better key generation scheme, Prince said it would depend on how "heavy-duty" the mechanism is, meaning the cost of the system compared to the value of having a "largely untraceable session key."