Inappropriate language by Koblitz and Menezes
Neal Koblitz and Alfred Menezes have written yet another paper about the strengths and weaknesses of using proofs of security to establish trust of cryptographic algorithms and protocols. Their first paper on this topic actually had some very valid points. Their latest contribution has elements that definitely don't belong in a serious publication.
Their discussion of non-repudiation is a good example of this. I've blanked out most of the letters in two of the particularly offensive words. Koblitz and Menezes didn't.
In many settings non-repudiation rather than authentication has been the most important need.
For example, in America, where illiterates have traditionally been permitted to sign with an X, such signatures are required to be witnessed. The reason is to prevent Bubba4 from later claiming
Ain’t my f***in’ X. Must be somebody else’s f***in’ X.
We the people!5
The f-word in a paper about cryptography? Why would anyone think that's appropriate?
They then try to explain in the footnotes exactly how they were trying to offend people:
4We chose the name Bubba rather than Bob because in all protocol descriptions of which we’re aware Bob is assumed to be literate.
5The first slogan refers to the football team of the University of Alabama, which is nicknamed the Crimson Tide. Bubba is a proud alumnus of that institution, and played football for them when he was a "student." The second slogan is the motto of the Tea Party movement, which Bubba strongly supports. He doesn’t believe in evolution or global warming, and is very proud to be an American because only in America do people like Bubba wield great political influence.
It seems to me that comments like these have absolutely no place in a serious discussion of provable security. That's why we have things like blogs, Facebook, reality TV and movies by Quentin Tarantino. But I'm fairly sure that Koblitz and Menezes really knew that, didn't they?