Re: [Cfrg] Requesting removal of CFRG co-chair

"Dan Harkins" <> Mon, 23 December 2013 08:44 UTC

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Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2013 00:44:14 -0800
From: Dan Harkins <>
To: Alyssa Rowan <>
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Subject: Re: [Cfrg] Requesting removal of CFRG co-chair
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On Sun, December 22, 2013 11:10 pm, Alyssa Rowan wrote:
> Documented fact: Kevin belongs to an agency with a "SIGINT Enabling
> Project". Their job is to "enable" [backdoor and/or disrupt] strong
> cryptography so the NSA can exploit it.
> That makes his advice untrustworthy. For all we know, it's *literally*
> his job to lie to us, and mislead us.

  "For all we know…", translation, "What I'm saying is complete

> And if he is responsible, as co-chair, for relaying the CFRG's advice
> to WGs, he is in the perfect position to do just that. The net effect
> is to taint that advice with the NSA's proven untrustworthiness.
> That's the central problem here.
> The only fix is for him to step down as co-chair. (It wouldn't hurt
> for him to resign from the NSA, or speak out, either; that he hasn't,
> as Daniel raised, can only be reasonably interpreted as indicative of
> his approval of the agency's actions.)

  This is another example of the argumentum ad hominem fallacy.
You're saying that you will judge his statements based on some
aspect of him and not on their fundamental truth (or falsehood!).

> Do you agree?
> If not, Dan, why do you wish Kevin to remain co-chair: despite the
> profound concerns raised, and the fundamental conflict-of-interest
> between his duties here, and the NSA's mission?
> Kindly explain your reason. I'm keenly interested to hear it.

  No, I don't' agree. Because I:

  1. don't believe in guilt by association and have no truck with
      ad hominem attacks; and,
  2. think that a dangerous precedent would be set if a social media
      fueled campaign to influence an SDO was successful.

> I mean, what I've heard from you so far is... just look at this gem:
> On Thu 12 Dec 2013 16:06, on TLS WG, Trevor Perrin wrote:
>>> The consequences of adopting a protocol we think is secure that
>>> isn't: dead people.
> (Correct security engineering thinking, backed up by decades of proven
>  history, and still just as true today, as Jacob Applebaum or Moxie
>  would be able to confirm.)
> On Fri 13 Dec 2013 08:35, on TLS WG, Dan Harkins wrote this reply:
>> You obviously read too much fiction and have too little practical
>> experience. Dragonfly is not a threat to human life. Get a grip.
> (...and well, I think that speaks for itself, doesn't it?)

  Let's stick to the topic, shall we? There will be plenty of opportunity
in the future to extract sentences from my numerous posts to various
lists and to bring up irrelevance like death by protocol ("it's true, just
ask these people who have not been killed by a protocol!"). The topic
right now is the subject of this email.