Re: Security for various IETF services

Brian E Carpenter <> Fri, 04 April 2014 00:26 UTC

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Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2014 13:26:55 +1300
From: Brian E Carpenter <>
Organization: University of Auckland
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Subject: Re: Security for various IETF services
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On 04/04/2014 12:35, wrote:
>> My reaction is also to ask "Why?"  Security and privacy involve
>> trade-offs where various costs (including operational difficulty) are
>> weighed against the benefits, such as protecting information from
>> unauthorized disclosure or modification.  So, I'd suggest that a
>> blanket statement isn't a good idea, but rather, a service-by-service
>> decision should be made.  For example, XMPP and document submission
>> may justify requiring encryption while email and document retrieval
>> might not.
> Bingo. There's a perfectly reasonable case to be made for protecting any
> sort
> of authorization/authentication exchange and not allowing alternatives.
> But in the case of document distribution, our primary goal should be to
> insure
> maximum availability and access to the information we provide, including
> to those who are unable to whatever reason to use protected services.
> And yes, I'm aware of the argument that access to certain standards,
> especially
> ones themselves having to do with security, might be problematic to folks
> living under some repressive regime or other. I don't buy it, mostly
> because that level of paranoia is going to regard any sort of access to
> IETF materials whatsoever as a red flag, especially it was conducted over

That may be, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't offer privacy of
access to those who want it. I think we need to distinguish various
quite separate issues. Off the top of my head, I can see:

* authenticity and integrity of data coming from the IETF site;
* privacy of the fact of access, if the user wants it;
* preventing access to the IETF site being used as an attack
  vector for either the site itself or the remote user
  (which indirectly includes protecting the privacy of
  personal information held at either end);