In the film Citizenfour, around the 33:33 mark, Edward Snowden said

I mean, you could literally shoot me or torture me, and I could not disclose the password if I wanted to. Um... You know, I have the sophistication to do that

How can it be possible ?

  • Heh, this is probably too broad to be answered in general. But a trivial answer would be to: (1) use a password that is hard to remember, e.g. 255 random bytes, and (2) place the password in a file (which you could use as a stream of bytes to the application that needs the password), and (3) destroy the device containing the file upon the arrival of an attacker. You simply have no chance of remembering that password, since you never really type it in.
    – grochmal
    Jan 1, 2017 at 4:40

1 Answer 1


Any setup where you actually don't know the passwords works to achieve this. The most commonly used way is to have a password manager like LastPass, 1Password or KeePass which generates long random passwords for each unique service and store them in an encrypted file.

Of course this encrypted file requires a password but it also requires the attacker to have the password file which, as mentioned in the comments, could be destroyed or securely hidden.

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