ATIS Telecom Glossary
Sunday, September 21, 2014

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Key Escrow

In general, key escrow means that a copy of the secret key needed to decrypt something is stored with a third party. This can be a notary or a bank, who will keep it safely for you, in case you lose your key, or when you die, in which case your relatives might need access to your encrypted material. It is also common in business. When an employee has encrypted material on his company computer, and he leaves, gets fired, or dies unexpectedly, the company might not be able to decrypt the material. This can cost them a lot of money, especially when the employee was working on something very important. For this reason, a copy of the secret key is usually kept by one or more supervisors, who can then decrypt the material if necessary. To ensure that a supervisor does not abuse this power, the key can be split amongst several persons, who have to work together to restore the key.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 
These definitions were prepared by ATIS Committee PRQC
 
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