An efficient algorithm for factoring would be a major mathematical achievement giving the person who discovered it anstant fame. About two years ago, C. P. Schnorr claimed such a breakthrough but it turned out the approach did not work as well as he thought. The technical details of his approach were extensively discussed with good answers in this question here.
I want to ask about responsible disclosure of such catastrophic breakthroughs. The answers may to an extend be opinion based but I think there are real issues to discuss.
A question here discusses what responsible disclosure should look like, with factors such as who to inform, how much time to allow before public disclosure, etc.
Schnorr's method of disclosure (stemming from I presume a belief in a major breakthrough) was to put up a preprint claiming the result. If he was right, this would have pretty much instantly rendered all RSA based cryptograpy insecure.
The question then becomes, is it even possible to have responsible disclosure of such a major breakthrough?
One sketch of a possible response is that places like CERT, government authorities, Root CAs, etc. need to be notified so that the standards are "rolled over". Staying in the alternate universe where Schnorr was successful, how much time is needed to expunge RSA from the ecosystem? The fact that it is being expunged will surely leak and cause panic. If the person who achieved the breakthrough is discovered before the system is replaced her life will surely be in danger. So will this approach even work?
I hope to see an interesting discussion, and I think this question is not off-topic.