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A Cryptographic Escrow for Treaty Declarations and Step-by-Step Verification

Author(s): Philippe, Sébastien; Glaser, Alexander; Felten, Edward W

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Abstract: The verification of arms-control and disarmament agreements requires states to provide declarations, including information on sensitive military sites and assets. There are important cases, however, in which negotiations of these agreements are impeded because states are reluctant to provide any such data, because of concerns about prematurely handing over militarily significant information. To address this challenge, we present a cryptographic escrow that allows a state to make a complete declaration of sites and assets at the outset and commit to its content, but only reveal the sensitive information therein sequentially. Combined with an inspection regime, our escrow allows for step-by-step verification of the correctness and completeness of the initial declaration so that the information release and inspections keep pace with parallel diplomatic and political processes. We apply this approach to the possible denuclearization of North Korea. Such approach can be applied, however, to any agreement requiring the sharing of sensitive information.
Publication Date: 2019
Citation: Philippe, Sébastien, Alexander Glaser, and Edward W. Felten. "A cryptographic escrow for treaty declarations and step-by-step verification." Science & Global Security 27, no. 1 (2019): 3-14. doi:10.1080/08929882.2019.1573483
DOI: 10.1080/08929882.2019.1573483
ISSN: 0892-9882
EISSN: 1547-7800
Pages: 3 - 14
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Science and Global Security
Version: Author's manuscript

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