This book is a register of the fingerprints of the world's most important public keys; it implements a
top-level certification authority (CA) using paper and ink rather than in an electronic system.
Its purpose is fourfold:
to provide the currently missing top level in the global key certification hierarchy, thus enabling users to verify the authenticity of root certificates that they acquire online;
to ground the trust required for electronic commerce and other online applications in the trust that has been built up over the years in the world of print publishing, and thereby to build confidence in electronic trust mechanisms;
to broaden our understanding of the scientific, engineering and business issues associated with top-level certification, and in the process to discover as many bugs and other problems as possible in existing public key standards and their implementations;
to use the privilege of a print publisher --- to print and distribute anything that is not pornographic, seditious or a breach of copyright --- to forestall plans by some governments to license CAs and to impose oppressive licensing conditions, such as the escrow of private confidentiality keys.