Re: [Cfrg] Time to recharter CFRG as a working group? Was: Re: [secdir] ISE seeks help with some crypto drafts

Michael StJohns <> Tue, 12 March 2019 20:43 UTC

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To: Richard Barnes <>, John Mattsson <>
Cc: "Blumenthal, Uri - 0553 - MITLL" <>, CFRG <>, "RFC ISE (Adrian Farrel)" <>, secdir <>
References: <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
From: Michael StJohns <>
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Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2019 16:43:04 -0400
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Subject: Re: [Cfrg] Time to recharter CFRG as a working group? Was: Re: [secdir] ISE seeks help with some crypto drafts
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On 3/12/2019 2:56 PM, Richard Barnes wrote:
> Big +1 here.  It's not broke, so let's not fix it, especially for 
> purely process-wonk reasons.

Except its not quite just for process-wonk reasons.  The last couple of 
discussions have been about the IPR related to OCB and whether the CFRG 
should work on it because of that.   That's a perfectly fine set of 
discussions for a standards WG especially when considering which modes 
to include under recommended and mandatory to implement, but is probably 
out of place for an RG.     The RG ought to be answering the question 
"does this proposal have security flaws" and not "has the patent expired 
on this" but we seem to be getting far past the "discussing and 
analyzing" part of the CFRG charter?

> Our goal is to provide a forum for discussing and analyzing general
> cryptographic aspects of security protocols, and to offer guidance on the use
> of emerging mechanisms and new uses of existing mechanisms.

I'd really like the CFRG to continue to be a place where anything 
cryptographic can be brought to be evaluated on its merits - but that - 
IMHO - doesn't seem to be the recent trend.

I note that the CFRG has already published RFC7253 on OCB and the IETF 
published an RFC on MD5 many many years ago, so unless there are new 
security flaws in this set of documents, the answer to the ISE should be 
a no brainer of "we don't see any problems with the publication".    And 
at some point the patents *will* expire even if its not the 1-2 years 
that one poster suggested.

In any event, I'm not going to push for this at this time, but I'm still 
confused about what would have to change if the charter were turned into 
a WG charter.

Later, Mike

> On Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 3:08 AM John Mattsson 
> < <>> wrote:
>     I think it is much more important that CFRG stays a Research
>     Group, than it is that CFRG can produce standards track documents.
>     CFRG is unique and fills a very important roll. The fact that CFRG
>     documents are used so much indicates to me that CFRG is working
>     very well. I would be very hesitant in changing something that works.
>     Cheers,
>     John