Amos Fiat's and Adi Shamir's authentication and digital signature scheme is discussed in [566,567]. Uriel Feige, Fiat, and Shamir modified the algorithm to a zero-knowledge proof of identity [544,545]. This is the best-known zero-knowledge proof of identity.
On July 9, 1986 the three authors submitted a U.S. patent application . Because of its potential military applications, the application was reviewed by the military. Occasionally the Patent Office responds not with a patent, but with something called a secrecy order. On January 6, 1987, three days before the end of their six-month period, the Patent Office imposed that order at the request of the Army. They stated that “. . . the disclosure or publication of the subject matter . . . would be detrimental to the national security. . ..” The authors were ordered to notify all Americans to whom the research had been disclosed that unauthorized disclosure could lead to two years' imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both. Furthermore, the authors had to inform the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks of all foreign citizens to whom the information had been disclosed.
This was ludicrous. All through the second half of 1986, the authors had presented the work at conferences throughout Israel, Europe, and the United States. The authors weren't even American citizens, and all the work had been done at the Weizmann Institute in Israel.
Word spread through the academic community ...