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A Crypto Protocol for ITC Authentication

May 18, 2014

For a long time, Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC) has been a known source of controversy. Since Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) came to the overall public attention (specially after the work of Friedrich Jürgenson and Konstantīns Raudive, pioneers in this field), people all over the world have been trying to understand the phenomena. Even Hollywood approached the subject, one way or another (e.g., in films like White Noise and Poltergeist).

I don’t want to discuss the technical merits of ITC. I don’t have answers, and believe paranormal researchers are much better authorities to elaborate on the underlying theories.

I want to propose a simple cryptographic protocol. There’s no major breakthrough innovation here. The underlying foundation is used in many different areas (e.g., in Web‘s SSL/TLS). Take it as a challenge, if you’re on the skeptic side. Or as an authentication effort aid/tool, for believers. It’s totally up to you.

THE PROBLEM WITH TRUST

Authentication is a tricky problem. One that involves trusting one or more third-parties (TTPs). We actually need notaries, certificate authorities (CAs), timestamp authorities (TSAs), and/or forensic science experts - just to name a few - whenever we assert a fact has happened, and/or someone’s done something.

I’m not talking here about common assertions; I’m talking about statements that are taken as truth, even to the extent of law. Also, putting aside the obvious confirmations by technical experts, “raw” witnesses’ testimonials should be taken with caution, and not depended upon. For the immediate reason that, the more controversial is the subject, the less likely that any credit is given to them.

A good protocol for ITC phenomena authentication should rely more on the process side of things, and less on the value of what one claims. Mathematics is a good tool for this kind of job.

ONE ISSUE WITH TRADITIONAL FORENSICS AND ITC

Imagine the following: an audio recording session captures someone’s voice. Corresponding evidence is saved digitally, for later comparison purposes. After the original voice owner passes away, a so called paranormal recording session (allegedly) captures the same voice. How do we prove that it belongs to the departed person?

Experts can help, employing audio forensics to authenticate the paranormal recording. Believe it or not, something similar happened in Brazil, not a long time ago. And was widely covered by a famous magazine (English summary).

But what can be implicitly inferred from the whole timeline authenticity, that goes from original recording to the paranormal event, an then to the specialist opinion? Unfortunately, not always much.

Experts/labs may be geographically distant from the recording sessions. And it may be economically or technically unfeasible to monitor/audit the whole chain of events that lead to final opinion.

Here lies what I think is a huge problem when forensics is applied to ITC phenomena: there’s no timeline authentication. No matter how qualified, honest, earnest, and/or careful people are, it seems that final technical opinion doesn’t answer an important question, leaving a gap behind: was the supposed paranormal recording really done after owner’s passed away?

A good ITC phenomena authentication protocol should rely more on the related events’ timeline itself, and less on the value of what is audited alongside the facts. Once again, math can be helpful.

A SIMPLE CRYPTO PROTOCOL FOR ITC TIMELINE AUTHENTICATION

Public-key cryptography (PKI) can help researchers authenticate ITC phenomena timelines through digital signatures. They are a good and practical tool for different reasons: rest in sound mathematical knowledge, have ready civil accessible implementations, are legally accepted in many countries, and pose no financial burden on the side of independent researchers/labs (i.e., they’re very cheap to use correctly).

Serious paranormal researchers can digitally sign their work, making sure outside watchers (and not just forensic experts) are capable of verifying records/assets’ origins. Coupled with digital time-stamps (nothing more than digital signatures done in a special form by TSAs), these signatures leave a “trail”, establishing a monotonically increasing (unquestionable) timeline.

As this is by no means a formalized protocol, a visual representation is depicted below (figure 1). There are no scales (on purpose). Or particular implementation details. RSA, ECC, or any other useful crypto algorithm supported by CAs/TSAs can be chosen.

alt paranormal timeline Figure 1 - a “paranormal” authenticated timeline

Blue rectangles represent paranormal researcher’s digital signatures, done with time-stamps. This acknowledges the fact that an important evidence (or the digitalization of a an important physical document, issued by a TTP) is known at a specific point in time. Digital documents/files are represented by ellipses, and blue arrows denote the most important auth/matching checks done by a TTP.

The red rectangle shows the death. Its occurrence is legally formalized in lots of countries by a death certificate, which usually has the advantage of being a public domain document. It’s the red ellipses above.

This sequence allows to extend the trust we have in the final specialized (respectable) opinion to the confidence of having a conclusion based on an authentic “paranormal timeline”[1]. Besides that, digital signatures are convenient in at least three more aspects: prove that a paranormal researcher controls the experiment, link together before and after death facts, and allow asynchronous evidence inspection (by different agents).

CONCLUSIONS

A simple crypto protocol was presented here, in a very informal manner. It can be seen more like a support protocol, that may help paranormal researchers authenticate their working timelines.

On the other hand, it can be argued that timeline authentication may prevent such researchers from stating some facts without further proofs, and end up restricting their allegations.

In any case, presented structure can be tuned in other similar arrangements, according to more suitable options.


Notes:
[1] - some readers cleverly noted that this is not always possible (e.g., when a “live” recording is signed after death, and presented as a “paranormal” file); timeline trustworthiness is the key point here: it’s expert’s responsibility to issue an opinion grounded on strong facts; a “kidnappers’ protocol” can be employed to make sure the “paranormal” audio content semantics (rather than digital representation) and corresponding signature timestamp match (in a reasonable point/range in time); this is similar to the movies, when kidnappers ask for ransom, and they present some proof of life (phone conversation, the classic newspaper-of-the-day-plus-victim photo, etc);