Re: [arch-d] IAB Statement on Encryption and Mandatory Client-side Scanning of Content

Brian E Carpenter <> Mon, 18 December 2023 03:44 UTC

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Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2023 16:44:09 +1300
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To: Andrew Campling <>, "" <>
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From: Brian E Carpenter <>
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Subject: Re: [arch-d] IAB Statement on Encryption and Mandatory Client-side Scanning of Content
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On 18-Dec-23 13:44, Andrew Campling wrote:
> At 8:08 PM 16-12-2023, S Moonesamy <> wrote:
>> I would like to commend the members of the IAB for acknowledging the concern about societal harms.
> The document states that "The IAB shares concerns about societal harms through the distribution of illegal content and criminal action on the Internet and recognizes the need to protect Internet users from such threats".  Whilst the document rules out the use of client-side scanning (a definition of which could usefully be added), it does not go on to indicate how the IAB recommends Internet users should be protected from such threats; is there a plan to produce a separate document that addresses this important issue?

The IAB has a specific role in the IETF/IRTF/RFC Editor universe, and the relevant part of its charter seems to be this:

    The IAB, both collectively
    and on an individual basis, is expected to pay attention to important
    long-term issues in the Internet, and to make sure that these issues
    are brought to the attention of the group(s) that are in a position
    to address them.  It is also expected to play a role in assuring that
    the people responsible for evolving the Internet and its technology
    are aware of the essential elements of the Internet architecture."

It seems to me that the recent IAB statement precisely fits that. It isn't the IAB's role to propose how to address the societal and legal problems of illegal content. As others have pointed out, these are not technical issues with network protocols, from which I conclude that they cannot be solved by changing or extending network protocols. And really, that is what the IAB statement boils down to: you can't stop illegal content by making the Internet less secure.