Re: [dns-privacy] Warren Kumari's Discuss on draft-ietf-dprive-rfc7626-bis-06: (with DISCUSS and COMMENT)

Warren Kumari <> Thu, 08 October 2020 00:16 UTC

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From: Warren Kumari <>
Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2020 20:16:14 -0400
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Subject: Re: [dns-privacy] Warren Kumari's Discuss on draft-ietf-dprive-rfc7626-bis-06: (with DISCUSS and COMMENT)
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On Wed, Oct 7, 2020 at 5:16 PM Peter Koch <> wrote:
> Hi Warren,
> On Wed, Oct 07, 2020 at 04:39:54PM -0400, Warren Kumari wrote:
> > 4.1.  The Public Nature of DNS Data
> >
> >    It is often stated that "the data in the DNS is public".  This sentence
> >    makes sense for an Internet-wide lookup system,  and there
> >    are multiple facets to the data and metadata involved that deserve a
> >    more detailed look.  First, access control lists (ACLs) and private
> >    namespaces notwithstanding, the DNS operates under the assumption
> >    that public-facing authoritative name servers will respond to "usual"
> >    DNS queries for any zone they are authoritative for without further
> >    authentication or authorization of the client (resolver).  Due to the
> >    lack of search capabilities, only a given QNAME will reveal the
> >    resource records associated with that name (or that name's non-
> >    existence).  In other words: one needs to know what to ask for, in
> >    order to receive a response. However, there are many ways in
> >    in which supposed "private" resources leak, including DNSSEC
> >   NSEC zone walking [REF]; passive-DNS services [ref]; employees
> >   taking their laptops home (where they may use a different resolver),
> >   and refreshing names which should only exist in their enterprise
> > environment, etc.
> I think this text is mixing too many aspects that are (or should eventually be)
> covered in other parts of the document.

The document is in IESG eval -- there is no more "eventually".

> The antipodes are _not_ 'public'
> and 'secret'.  The purpose of that section was to exactly counter the
> too narrow perception that 'all data in the DNS is public' (which by the
> way, was a usual counter argument to NSEC3) to help motivate the need
> for further dealing with DNS privacy.

I fully agree that we need to explain the need for DNS privacy -- but
to my mind the original text does the opposite - it provides the
illusion that you can put private info in the DNS and (realistically)
expect it to stay that way. I fully agree with your below that things
like passive dns is not a feature of the DNS, but it *is* a way that
records that people might assume to be private leak.

Yes, I do fully understand that the primary purpose of this is to
discuss the privacy needs / implications of leaking in *transactions*,
but this section seems to pooh-pooh the risks of exposing "private"

Tim's suggestion (coupled with changing the section title) would be
fine with me...


> It does not suggest to store secrets
> in the DNS.  The original text, I believe - biased as might be - did and does clearly
> differentiate betweeen residual data and transactions.  'passive DNS'
> is not a feature of the DNS - it is a by-product and, from the perspective
> of privacy, to be addressed under 'risks'.
> -Peter

I don't think the execution is relevant when it was obviously a bad
idea in the first place.
This is like putting rabid weasels in your pants, and later expressing
regret at having chosen those particular rabid weasels and that pair
of pants.