Re: [ippm] [Explicit-meas] Comparing Alternate Marking and Explicit Flow Measurements (Spin bit, ...)

Giuseppe Fioccola <> Wed, 31 March 2021 17:49 UTC

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From: Giuseppe Fioccola <>
To: Spencer Dawkins at IETF <>, "Lubashev, Igor" <>
CC: "" <>, "" <>, "IETF IPPM WG (" <>, "" <>, HAMCHAOUI Isabelle IMT/OLN <>, Cociglio Mauro <>, Ian Swett <>, "" <>
Thread-Topic: [Explicit-meas] Comparing Alternate Marking and Explicit Flow Measurements (Spin bit, ...)
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Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 17:48:54 +0000
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Subject: Re: [ippm] [Explicit-meas] Comparing Alternate Marking and Explicit Flow Measurements (Spin bit, ...)
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Hi Spencer, Igor, Ian, All,
It is interesting to look at the similar discussion for PLUS back in 2016 and the related concerns about endpoints sending information to network entities.
On the one hand, this draft describes several “explicit” measurement methods which send information to an on-path observer. But, on the other hand, it is worth mentioning that each one of the methods has different privacy implications. Different kinds of information are exposed to the on-path observer depending on which method is chosen.
For example the Spin bit exposes an end-to-end delay metric while the sQuare bit exposes only endpoint-to-observer loss metric. So, in principle, it is possible to choose the method or the combination of methods based on the level of security that must be guaranteed.



From: Explicit-meas [] On Behalf Of Spencer Dawkins at IETF
Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 11:44 PM
To: Lubashev, Igor <>
Cc:;; IETF IPPM WG ( <>;; HAMCHAOUI Isabelle IMT/OLN <>; Cociglio Mauro <>; Ian Swett <>;
Subject: Re: [Explicit-meas] Comparing Alternate Marking and Explicit Flow Measurements (Spin bit, ...)

Hi, Igor,

On Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 11:11 AM Lubashev, Igor <<>> wrote:
Thank you, Ian and Spencer.

Sorry for top posting (the thread could otherwise get a little long and I am using Outlook…).

Ian, we did consider privacy implications of the markings. Because all markings and internal counters are completely reset when there is a CID change, we did not see the markings compromise linkability during migrations. Otherwise, since the markings are minimal, we see them only disclosing the information they are meant to disclose – upstream/downstream loss.  We do discuss privacy-related implications of disclosing upstream/downstream loss in However, the discussion in the ID is theoretical and is not a result of large global study whose results are confirmed by independent third parties. I would be happy to collaborate on this with an interested PhD student or another researcher.

Spencer, I will review the PLUS minutes. In a setup when endpoints are sending information to unknown third parties, my immediate concern is less with the third parties being unknown and more with the extent of the information sent being unknown. After all, endpoints are already sending information to “unknown third parties” on path every time they communicate over the Internet. With the explicit measurements proposals, the set of “unknown third parties” is not changing. What endpoints must focus on is the information content of the signal. In any case, the abovementioned draft allows for endpoints to decide whether this signal is being sent AND ensures that a certain portion of all connections does not use this signaling (so connections explicitly opting out do not stand out).

This was exactly the concern PLUS tripped over (IMO).

The concern being expressed was that the PLUS format allocated a fixed-length field (IIRC) that did not define every bit in the fixed-length field, so in the mind of the SEC types, a (let's just say it out loud) mobile operator who also sends you your phone, so controls both ends, could start sending itself interesting bits of information without a user "opting in", OR knowing that they should be trying to "opt out".

PLUS happened at IETF 96 (in 2016), and I'm guessing that we are doing more with automated updates in 2021 than we were doing in 2016 (also the year QUIC was chartered, although Google had been using gQUIC for several years previously, so "change the behavior after a browser upgrade" was on our horizon).

One didn't have to be a mobile operator mailing you a cell phone to add interesting behaviors without you, the user, realizing that.

Brian and Mirja would remember the details better (they were at the front of the room, while I was in the back, where ADs usually live).

But that's what I was trying to describe. I hope it makes sense. And good luck. This was important work that we didn't know how to charter at the time (again, IMO).



Delivery of qlog to specific operators is possible, but it does not help much to locate the source of the loss/delay (upstream of the operator? downstream? in the operator’s own systems?) – the primary goal of this draft.

Very best,

  *   Igor