W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > ietf-http-wg@w3.org > July to September 2013

Re: PRISM and HTTP/2.0

From: Roberto Peon <grmocg@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2013 17:16:50 -0700
Message-ID: <CAP+FsNekY4WWdsYdUX3_vUWm1pqepWOH7PdiS9ZxpFwkHnqXWA@mail.gmail.com>
To: J Ross Nicoll <jrn@jrn.me.uk>
Cc: Poul-Henning Kamp <phk@phk.freebsd.dk>, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
I have a difficult time believing that any solution, short of new
physics-based technologies, will overcome the tradition of users'
ambivalence when faced with any obstacle to convenience.

On Sat, Jul 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM, J Ross Nicoll <jrn@jrn.me.uk> wrote:

> With regards to #1, I'm not sure the concept of "more encryption" is
> really what's meant here. Minimum key lengths could be increased, perhaps
> different encryption methods merged such that if one approach is broken
> then the message is still secure... however I think we can fairly
> realistically assume no-one's going to try tackling the encryption itself
> head-on.
> Bogus certificates and server-side backdoors seem inevitable, at least in
> the current political climate. I don't think any realistic changes at the
> transport layer will affect that (unrealistic changes would include "move
> to a web of trust"). Equally I don't think there's any need for changes to
> enable access; they're doing that just fine without us, and inevitably any
> such hooks are weaknesses that can potentially be exploited by an attacker.
> About the only changes I could suggest from a technical point of view
> would be user-interface related. Indicate when a server certificate
> changes, for example, especially if the previous certificate's expiry
> wasn't due for a while. The same sort of defences that are relevant against
> phishing attacks, are useful for evading other forms of site impersonation.
> I think this is a discussion worth having, because even "There is nothing
> to be changed" is a concrete conclusion to come to, but that may be the
> answer here.
> Ross
> On 13/07/2013 11:08, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:
>> I would like to advocate that everybody spends a little bit of time
>> reconsidering how we design protocols after the PRISM disclosures.
>> We don't need to have a long discussion about the actual legality
>> of the US spy operation, the sheer scale and the kind of efforts
>> that went in to it is the relevant message to us.
>> The take-home message is that encryption will be broken, disabled,
>> circumvented og watered down, if it gets in the way of political
>> objectives.
>> We can do three things in light of this:
>> 1) We can try to add more encryption to fight back.
>> 2) We can recognize that there needs to be hooks for duly authorized
>> access.
>> 3) We can change or at least influence the political objectives
>> I think PRISM is ample evidence that #1 will have the 100% certain
>> result is that all encryption will be circumvented, with bogus CA
>> certs all the way up to PRISM and designed-in backdoors, and the
>> net result is less or even no privacy for anybody everywhere.
>> In my view, that would be very counterproductive.
>> #2 is not without challenges, but at least there are plausible paths
>> from there to a state of affairs where innocent people might still
>> have access to private communications, and it might seem to be a
>> necessary precondition for any hope on #3
>> #3 is clearly not inside HTTPbis scope, but it may be time for
>> all good nerds to come to the aid of their country and humanity.
>> A "market based" argument can be made under #3, that if we design
>> protocols with the necessary access (#2), programs like PRISM will
>> not be cost effective, but that will take some serious effort
>> of education and politics.
>> Anyway:  Edward Snowden has moved the rug under the HTTP/2.0
>> standardization process, and we should not ignore that.
>> Think about it.
Received on Sunday, 14 July 2013 00:17:17 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 17:14:14 UTC