Re: [Ideas] WG Review: IDentity Enabled Networks (ideas)

Phillip Hallam-Baker <> Wed, 04 October 2017 14:57 UTC

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From: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2017 10:57:21 -0400
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Subject: Re: [Ideas] WG Review: IDentity Enabled Networks (ideas)
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On Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 2:31 PM, Stephen Farrell <>

> As currently described, I oppose creation of this working
> group on the basis that it enables and seemingly encourages
> embedding identifiers for humans as addresses. Doing so
> would have significant privacy downsides, would enable
> new methods for censorship and discrimination, and could
> be very hard to mitigate should one wish to help protect
> people's privacy, as I think is current IETF policy.
> If the work precluded the use of any identifiers that
> strongly map to humans then I'd be ok with it being done
> as it'd then only be a waste of resources. But I don't
> know how that could be enforced so I think it'd be better
> to just not do this work at all.
> S.


I know how to restrict the work to 'meaningless' identifiers, require that
the identifiers be the output of a cryptographic algorithm.

​Now strictly speaking, this only limits scope to identifiers that are
indexical as opposed to rendering them meaningless but I think that was the
sense of it.

a trichotemy of identifiers as follows

* Identity, the signifier is the signified (e.g. data: URI)

* Indexical, the signifier is related to the signified by a systematic
relationship, (e.g. ni URIs, SHA256Data), PGP fingerprints etc.)

* Names,  the signifier is the related to the signified by a purely
conventional relationship, (e.g. to its owner)

There is a big difference between attempting to manage indexical signifiers
and names. Especially when the people trying to do so refuse to read any of
the literature on semiotics.

Names are problematic because the only way that a conventional relationship
can be implemented is through some sort of registration infrastructure and
we already have one of those and the industry that manages it has a
marketcap in the tens of billions.

Identifiers do lead to tractable solutions. But, this proposal looks a bit
unfocused for IRTF consideration, an IETF WG? Really?

I wrote this for the ename workshop and I think it shows that some of the
goals stated can be solved:

But this is what my names look like:

They are both legal addresses fully compliant with the DNS etc specs. The
first won't resolve on the regular DNS, the second does but the embedded
security properties will only be enforced if the resolver understands the
mm-- prefix.

I can use these names to achieve content based routing of both static and
dynamic data. In the first case, the identifier is the fingerprint of the
content itself, in the second, the identifier is the fingerprint of a key
signing the content.