RSA Laboratories

7.13 What are LEAFs?

A LEAF, or Law Enforcement Access Field, is a small piece of ``extra'' cryptographic information that is sent or stored with an encrypted communication to ensure that appropriate Government entities, or other authorized parties, can obtain the plaintext of some communication. For a typical escrowed communication system, a LEAF might be constructed by taking the decryption key for the communication, splitting it into several shares, encrypting each share with a different key escrow agent's public key, and concatenating the encrypted shares together.

The term ``LEAF'' originated with the Clipper Chip (see Question 6.2.4 for more information).

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