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

Tony Arcieri <> Sun, 10 March 2019 23:20 UTC

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From: Tony Arcieri <>
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2019 16:20:01 -0700
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To: "StJohns, Michael" <>
Cc: Stephen Farrell <>, CFRG <>, "RFC ISE (Adrian Farrel)" <>, secdir <>
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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 Sun, Mar 10, 2019 at 3:46 PM StJohns, Michael <>

> In recent years, the CFRG has produced documents that are for lack of a
> better phrase de facto standards.  The rate of document production of the
> CFRG mimics more closely that of a WG than the other extant RGs AFAICT.
> As an RG the CFRG isn’t permitted to publish standards track documents, nor
> is the IESG or the ISE permitted or constrained to require a conflict
> review on the documents the CFRG does produce.  [the latter comment is my
> understanding of the rules of the research stream - it may be flawed, but
> the purpose of RGs is supposed to be looking at futures and that by
> definition shouldn’t be conflicting with the nows].

An interesting datapoint on this is Dragonfly key exchange, published as
RFC 7664, has now been incorporated into the Wifi Alliance's WPA3 standard:

I will preface the following statement by saying that my criticisms of
Dragonfly on the CFRG list at the time were misinformed and due to a lack
of understanding, and would now call it "okay" (and many of my concerns
were assuaged after it received a security proof). However, I think it's
fair to say that as a non-standards document, it has something of a sordid

I think if there were a WG chartered specifically with a standards-track
document for what the next generation key exchange to be used for use cases
similar to and including, but not limited to WiFi were, my best guess is we
could've done better than Dragonfly. I'm not sure why the Wifi Alliance
chose it specifically, but it seems the CFRG was treated at least in part
as a bar the algorithm must pass for incorporation into their standards,
and for a standard of such importance I guess what I'm saying is I wish
that bar were higher.

Tony Arcieri