Re: [MLS] MLS: the WG name should include "group"

Raphael Robert <> Sat, 24 March 2018 15:25 UTC

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From: Raphael Robert <>
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Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2018 16:25:16 +0100
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Subject: Re: [MLS] MLS: the WG name should include "group"
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We looked at a number of alternatives to MLS and in the end none of them seemed to be substantially better than “Messaging Layer Security”, but that doesn’t mean the name cannot be changed.

In my opinion “messaging” implies groups in 2018 and it’s not a special case of messaging anymore. It's the norm for non-E2EE products, and a number of E2EE messengers support it as well already today: WhatsApp, Signal, Wire, etc. In the context of MLS, “groups" are also interchangeable with “multi-device”, which is also becoming the norm.

The 1:1 pairwise mode is still important technologically, but application-wise it will most likely be perceived as a special case of (group) messaging.

Also just my 2c.


> On 24 Mar 2018, at 15:05, Katriel Cohn-Gordon <> wrote:
> +1
> I have no strong feelings regarding the name, but I do think we are working on groups because you need them for general messaging.
> Katriel
> On Sat, 24 Mar 2018, at 1:43 PM, Jon Millican wrote:
>> Thanks for raising this point. I'm also no good at naming, but agree that there's potential scope to name more clearly. A couple of points in response to the specific issues you raised though:
>> While most of the discussion has focused on groups, my feeling is that this is because group is a more challenging superset of the pairwise case; and we should still care about pairwise messaging. In the pairwise case I think the main differentiator compared with TLS is the requirement for asynchronicity; so if we're clearly carving up the territory it might make sense to highlight this.
>> Just my 2c though. I have no objection at all to changing the name, and certainly agree that group support is a crucial aspect that could be worth highlighting.
>> Jon
>> On 24 Mar 2018, at 13:15, Shivan < <>> wrote:
>>> +1 the name seems to be inspired by TLS but the drafts concern themselves explicitly with group messaging, not messaging as a whole.  
>>> On Sat, Mar 24, 2018, 11:28 AM Daniel Kahn Gillmor < <>> wrote:
>>> Thanks for all the work that has gone into the proposed MLS architecture
>>> and protocol drafts already.
>>> As we move toward working group formation, i'm a little bit concerned
>>> that the ostensible name of the project ("message layer security")
>>> doesn't adequately describe the most salient features.
>>> We spent most of the time at the BoF in IETF 101 London talking about
>>> the design of the group key agreement scheme and the strong
>>> cryptographic properties we want it to provide -- and i suspect that
>>> most of the work in any formed WG will center around that problem.
>>> So it seems odd to me that the word "group" doesn't appear in the name
>>> "MLS".
>>> I'm no good at acronyms, but i'll just throw out two alternatives:
>>>   MSG: Messaging Security for Groups
>>>   MESSAGE: Message Encryption and Security Standard for Asynchronous Group Environments
>>> I hope since the WG isn't yet formed, it's not too late to consider a
>>> change to the name.  We ought to be up front about the group-specific
>>> context that we're talking about here, as we already have a security
>>> layer that works for messages passing between two endpoints
>>> synchronously (TLS) and it'd be nice to clearly carve up the territory.
>>>         --dkg
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