Friday, June 02, 2006


JSH: Ethics of a factoring solution

I am wondering if I should continue my search for a solution to the factoring problem if every time I think I have one I beat myself up about the ethics of it.

For one thing, I am not interested in implementing a solution, so if I find one, my temptation is always to dump it out on Usenet, and let other people play with it.

If I do that and I do find an easy solution, is that ethical?

Is it a defensible action?

Ok, so let us say that I decide to do my own implementation after finding a solution, and factor an RSA number, can I then dump that solution out immediately to silence critics?

But what if that causes an impact on the stock markets of the world?

Would I be responsible for the damage?

Remember, I would not give a damn about the RSA prize money. Breaking the factoring problem would end the "crackpot" label, and bring my other research front and center.

To me, the RSA challenge is just a means to an end for beating it, not for the money which would be chump change as far as I am concerned.

I need ethics answers, where I doubt many of you will take this seriously to give me exactly what I need, but, hey, I can ask the questions anyway. Who knows? Maybe something might help.

Should I go back to the search for a factoring solution? Or give up on it as ethically the wrong thing to do?

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