Deepfreezing, deep storage, offline storage and One Way storage all refer to a way of securely storing digital information, and more specifically a flavour of digital storage invented by Ric Richardson.
The technique utilises a single asymmetric key pair, where the public key is used for encrypting data and the seperate, different but related private key is used to decrypt the data with the twist that the private key is stored offline as a paper document or QR code in a safe or a security deposit box.
This means the protected data is beyond the reach of any hacker or data breach. The unlock key is unreachable.
Ric’s technique takes this concept further by not relying on a password or other secret to gain access to the private key.
In Ric’s model a security officer or lawyer is the only person authorised to physically access the private key and can only do so after verifying the identity of the person making the request for decryption and then using data itself that has been unlocked and retrieved with the private key to verify the requester identity. Its a very secure and flexible method as long as the officer or lawyer is trustworthy.
General. The primary use case for the technology is storage and retrieval of high value digital information such as bank account numbers and passwords, or crypto wallet access codes or digital copies of precious family photos after a fire or a memory lapse.
Executor. The technology is also critical for executors of a deceased estate in that the identity of the executor can be typically verified as well as the executors authority and verification of death with the added benefit that the contents of the stored data itself can be used to make identity and authority verification. For example storage of the account owners own next of kin and executor details as documents in the encrypted store can be used to verify the executors credentials.
Corporate. Another valuable application is where corporate assets are stored in digital form such as a Bitcoin wallet and the account holder dies. This happened to a corporation where $190million USD was stored as Bitcoins and lost when the CEO died without sharing the bitcoin wallet password.
Govt access and privacy. A further unique but growing concern is the practise of government agencies being able to or requiring to have access to end to end encrypted communications and data storage. The use of Ric’s flavour of deep storage means that any request to access passwords or confidential information of an account holder by a government request can be supervised, scrutinised and legally tested before access is allowed and access given only to data specifically referred to in the subpeona. The account holders privacy and rights can be protected by someone who has their express interests at heart.
This is a significant advantage when compared to the current trend of leaving data access in the hands of company staff who have little or no vested interest in protecting the privacy and legal rights of a user of a secure messaging service or data store.