To a first approximation, a secret society has three functions:The paper talks about steganographic broadcasts (i.e., transmitting your affiliation in a coded form; the drawing of a fish by early Christians is one famous example), plausible deniability, and suggests various protocols using the semantic meanings of bodies of knowledge known to the society, including coding challenges and responses (or even small amounts of information) in the truth value of statements about the shared text.
Each area presents intriguing challenges, but crucial to each aspect is membership testing – society members must be able to identify each other in order to pass on the doctrine, to confer rewards and to consider new applicants.
- to recruit the worthy,
- to pass on a secret doctrine,
- and to reward its members.
Also from the same authors: A Pact With The Devil, or a hypothetical outline of how a genuinely nasty form of malware could use various forms of persuasion and blackmail to spread itself.
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