Re: IESG meeting thoughts

Michael Richardson <> Tue, 17 May 2016 16:59 UTC

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From: Michael Richardson <>
To: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>
Subject: Re: IESG meeting thoughts
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Date: Tue, 17 May 2016 12:58:57 -0400
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Phillip Hallam-Baker <> wrote:
    > Right now I am working on technology that makes end-to-end security practical
    > and usable.

This is awesome; I'm hoping that microsoft, apple and google will pay
attention and collaborate.  In the 1990s, I think that one reason we wound up
where we did was because the work was being done by academics and later by
dot-com startups.  Who has the resources to collaborate with you?

    > Using off the shelf mail applications with the Mathematical Mesh
    > is actually easier than using them without. But there are some features I
    > have added to meet real end user needs that we would never have considered in
    > the 1990s. In particular a key backup and recovery option that is turned on
    > by default.

    > Why do real users need key recovery? Well without the ability to recover a
    > lost key, a protocol that encrypts stored data becomes worse than ransomware.
    > There isn't even the option of paying a criminal to get your data back.

That's very true.
I have been wondering, in the context of Apple's improvement to device
security, how the untimely death of a person will be dealt with.

    > Another critical security technology that we managed to allow ourselves to be
    > persuaded was 'evil' is trustworthy computing. As a result the WebPKI

It wasn't trustworthy, because they refused peer review.
We couldn't even get Intel to reveal pre-whitened random numbers!
(correct me they ever fixed that...)

    > code signing infrastructures use private keys that are stored on the machine
    > itself, in many cases in plaintext but with security through obscurity at
    > best. But we have the technology that would allow us to bind those private
    > keys to servers in such a way that they can be used but not extracted without
    > physical access to the machine itself and a significant degree of technical
    > effort.

The effort needs more resources I think.

    > What is popular and commonly agreed in computing isn't always the right
    > thing. Security is allowing our users to control risk, not defeating the
    > political objectives of Louis Freeh or the RIAA.


Michael Richardson <>ca>, Sandelman Software Works
 -= IPv6 IoT consulting =-