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Re: Privacy and its costs (was: Re: Mandatory encryption)

From: Mike Belshe <mike@belshe.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2012 10:32:41 -0700
Message-ID: <CABaLYCs0ZyxBrVp=UaN0Kbu--frJKPx8MHoPYp73uDkZhhDp=A@mail.gmail.com>
To: Greg Wilkins <gregw@intalio.com>
Cc: ietf-http-wg@w3.org
On Sun, Aug 5, 2012 at 6:44 PM, Greg Wilkins <gregw@intalio.com> wrote:

> On 31 July 2012 14:43, Mike Belshe <mike@belshe.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 8:23 PM, Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> Fair point; I should. -T
> >
> >
> > Yeah, belshe.com should too :-)
> >
> Mike,
> I don't understand the benefit of encrypting traffic to/from a public
> blog site?    There is no privacy obtained by doing so.

Hey Greg -

I don't want to restate things over and over, so I'll be brief.  For the
most part, I just see this as a natural evolution.  We should be constantly
innovating and raising the bar in the security and privacy space.  This is
just one step.  Many many more are needed to.  But this is the most simple
and logical one to take now.

My opinions:
   a) With all else being equal, encrypted is always better than not
   b) Encryption doesn't "fix" everything, but there is no "fix".  With
security and privacy its always about "raising the bar".
   c) Users expect and want encryption.  It's only site operators/proxy
vendors/server vendors that complain.
   d) The cost of encryption is tiny.  (I know others disagree on this
   e) Debugging is not a real issue and can be mitigated with better tools.
   f) As the world comes online, there are many amateur site
operator/content owners. They don't know when it is important to encrypt or
not.  We should help them protect themselves and their users by building
stronger protocols.
   g) The most common theft is cookie hijacking, which can still be done
today on a plethora of services - hotmail, yahoo mail, flickr, etc etc.
   h) The larger security issues to be fixed, like the CA system, can't be
fixed until we turn on TLS everywhere.  Once we do, we'll quickly see
browsers innovate with new CA/trust systems.  Without more TLS everywhere,
everyone just side-steps the issue.


> If I can see somebody on my network make a connection to belshe.com,
> then I can go browse that site myself and see all the content that the
> encrypted connection has available to it.  By looking at the dates and
> sizes of the data transfers, I can make a pretty good estimate of the
> pages that the encrypted connection has accessed.
> TLS provides little privacy in this situation as I will know who the
> client connected to, what they saw and when they saw it.   Even if the
> browser pushes content, for a blog site that is more often than not a
> comment, so that will get published as well and again size/date
> matching can be very effective at working out who said what.
> If privacy is a necessary attribute of HTTP/2.0, then we will have to
> prevent direct connections to servers and all traffic will need to go
> via anonymous proxy services.
> There may well be good arguments for having confidential content as
> the default for HTTP/2.0, but privacy is not one of them.
> cheers
> --
> Greg Wilkins <gregw@intalio.com>
> http://www.webtide.com
> Developer advice and support from the Jetty & CometD experts.
Received on Monday, 6 August 2012 17:33:10 UTC

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