Daniel’s idea is to combine two capabilities to create a decentralized system for enabling accountability.
The first is digital watermarks and data terms of service. The watermark is a cryptographically signed addition to the original document that states the terms behind the sharing. For example, a sales agreement could include data sharing terms that state the recipient may not disclose named aspects of the document except under legal subpoena.
The second is provisional anonymity where identifying information is encrypted and the encrypted packaged is shared with the recipient. The keys to decrypt are shared with a third party under escrow with legal requirements that the keys only be reveled to the recipient under specific conditions.
Daniel combines these into a decentralized system of opt-in agreements between parties that are tailored to the context and circumstances of the specific communications channel and data sharing. The legal agreement defines the requirements that must be met for access.
Daniel calls this “reciprocal negotiated accountability” because both parties negotiate and agreement about how shared data will be treated.
Daniel’s solution won’t make those who wish for unfettered access to communications channels happy. But it represents an alternative to backdoors that solves many of the problems backdoors present while protecting privacy for legitimate uses–as negotiated by the parties sharing data.