Thinking about government-mandated backdoors into an encryption technology. The keys and techniques to exploit the backdoor comprise a secret kept by the authorities and the companies involved, and that secret is essentially maintained by a conspiracy of all those individuals. One might ask what is the probability of that secret leaking out of control?
The recent paper by David Robert Grimes, “On the Viability of Conspiratorial Beliefs” (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0147905) provides valuable insight. (This paper is also discussed by Yonatan Zunger at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0147905 ) The upshot is “Conspiracies are made of people, and people are kind of incompetent.”
The model Grimes develops doesn’t quite fit this case (this is a conspiracy almost all elements of which are public, and the secret great intrinsic value to a number of people), and is highly dependent on a number of parameters. It seems to me it could be adapted to deal with our special case very easily.