Ken (Chanoch) Bloom's Blog

23rd September 2005

Ideas: Multicast File Distribution

Save even more bandwidth than BitTorrent by multicasting popular files out from a single server to people who are interested in downloading them. Deal with the reliablity issues and latecomers by using a rateless erasure code so that they can reconstruct the file from just about any sufficiently large piece of the file that they do manage to download. (Sufficiently large will be a few percent larger than the original file.) Of course we'd need IPv6 multicast aware routers to catch on so that this actually works over the open internet.

On-the-Fly Verification of Rateless Erasure Codes for Efficient Content Distribution may be relevant.

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23rd September 2005

Idea: a private-key credit/debit card

Prevent identity theft (if you can keep your hands on your card) by using challenge-response authentication. The POS terminal sends your card a challenge, the card encrypts the challenge and sends it back, and the POS terminal checks it using your card's public key (which it fetches from the credit card company). Bonus points: put a key pad on the card, so that your key is protected with a password, and you know your password isn't going into random hostile machines.

So S-cubed also thought of this one. But we thought of it independantly.

And here's all the more reason why!

Smart cards sound like a good idea for this, but maybe a USB device similar to a thumb drive is a better idea. That way we don't need new hardware on our computers to do e-commerce.

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