The United States under the Clinton/Gore administration already tried something similar to this; five words spring to mind: "Clipper, Skipjack, and Key Escrow". (If you need a refresher, I suggest the book "Crypto" by Steven Levy
The **last** thing I want is for my government to be the entity that issues the requisite public/private key pairs to the private institutions and companies with whom I do business. My business is **my** business - and not the government's business - until a **legitimate** search warrant or indictment says otherwise. And even then, it's still **my** business
As the article posting indicates, SSL is built around a Chain of Trust. People buy SSL certificates from the likes of VeriSign, Thawte, Equifax, etc., because they are well-known and (ostensibly) trustworthy organizations.
I, for one, do not entirely trust my government. I don't trust VeriSign and crew all that much, either, but their reputations are a strong motivation for them to do their jobs reasonably well, and provide products that perform as advertised. To do otherwise would damage their reputations, resulting in lost customers and weaker profit margins.
Most governments, on the other hand, don't care much about their reputations, and have little regard for profit margins (just look at the US Government's annual budget deficit). They therefore have no compunction against using excuses such as "national security" and "protect the children" to provide (at best) or mandate (at worst) inferior solutions to technological problems.
Admittedly, some companies - like AT&T
, for instance - are so large and well-entrenched that they sometimes bow to the mandates of government, and little heed the damage done to their reputations because of it.
But most companies are not that large, and can ill afford to lose face in the marketplace. Reputation is their bread-and-butter, so they do what's in their own best interests, which may even coincide with their customers' best interests.