[Pearg] PearG IETF 103 notes

Corinne Cath <corinnecath@gmail.com> Thu, 08 November 2018 02:59 UTC

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From: Corinne Cath <corinnecath@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2018 09:58:59 +0700
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Subject: [Pearg] PearG IETF 103 notes
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Please find below the notes I took during the inaugural PearG meeting

Ommissions, Dutchisms and mistakes are all mine.


Corinne Cath - Speth
Ph.D. Candidate, Oxford Internet Institute & Alan Turing Institute

Web: www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/corinne-cath
Email: ccath@turing.ac.uk & corinnecath@gmail.com
Twitter: @C_Cath




Q: how do you define privacy? Is it about protocols? Maybe look at the
business model of data monetization.

A: yes, the privacy of protocols but we will also look at the application

Q: I thought it was notable that privacy beyond just confidentiality was
highlighted, but no particular research items or topics seemed to be


Presentation 1: Bennett Cyphers (staff technologist) from EFF on Privacy

-       EFF is member funded non-profit

-       Privacy, free expression and innovation

Context of privacy badgers: a story of how sometimes protocols are not

2009 – 2012: DNT and the dream of a universal opt-out. Let’s do this.
Industry was interested too, in order to pre-empt (more) regulation,
amongst other reasons.

2012 – 2018. Turn around on DNT in late 2012 because things were breaking
down. EFF saw need for other way to allow people to opt-out of tracking.
Privacy badger is born.

Privacy Badger:

- Both sticks and carrots (stop non-consensual tracking, spread awareness,
promote DNT compliance, publish trackers who don’t DNT by blocking them)

- But faced constraints as small non-profit.

It turns DNT on in your browser.

Next steps: Badger Sett

-  Pre-train privacy badger on popular sites

-  Use privacy badger to survey the web

-  Test out new heuristics and measure the effectiveness

- Privacy Badger mobile is needed bc of the importance of mobile browsing
and apps.

Mic open:

-    Privacy badger as part of the W3C DNT, why not?

-    Privacy sett does more than you mentioned in your talk

-   Interaction with other extensions sometimes is a problem

- No telemetry data back to EFF, so your model of doing your own surveying
of the web is great.

-  How much of cat and mouse game is it? A: it’s a pretty small extension,
add-blockers operate on such a scale that they consider it to be much work
to avoid privacy badger.

- Do you also provide guidance for privacy-preserving website? A: We refer
to the DNT policy that is available for people who are interested in

- How does it interact with add-blockers? A: we don’t block adds perse,
because they also track. You can also auto-adjust your settings.

Presentation 2: Sofia Celi & Jurren van Bergen (Centro de autonomia
digital) No evidence of communication: Off-the-record messaging protocol in
version 4 (OTRv4)

-       Comes out of an academic paper

-       Provides encryption w forward secrecy; authentication, deniability.

-       Different version

-       Other protocols drew inspiration for it (like signal)

Why version 4?

-       Deniability is crucial

-       Has a specification

-       Can find more info on the git repo

Mic open:

-  Work in IETF on MLS, how does it relate? A: MLS does not provide

-  MLS wants to improve crypto, so it would seem that you have the same
security guarantees, maybe you want to have the same kind of scrutiny
applied to your stuff. We are an inspiration protocol.

- Can you explain what is message and participation deniability? A: it
means that no one can prove you participated and that nobody can prove that
you sent that message.

- MLS is agnostic on deniability currently. We would love to have your
participation in the MLS working group.

Presentation 3: David Oliver (Guardian Project) pluggable transport
(obfuscates the address and network flows, to prevent DPI.) Surveillance is
bad. Privacy is core to enabling human rights. Guardian Project focuses on
mobile operating systems.


-       IP was to route, but routing data got weaponized.

-       DPI of traffic analysis, you can see the content of every packet in
your traffic

-       Encryption also adheres to recognizable patterns.

You can defend through obfuscation:

-       Service address

-       Content of the packet

What is suspicious develops fast and deployment of work should hence also
be faster = pluggable transports.

Mic open:

- Tensions between scale and half-life of mechanisms, the more successful
you are the quicker you will have to turn over. A: yes, we are on the
cutting edge and we expose a lot of problems so others can get involved.

- Could you make all of the normal things the same? A: good point, lets
talk offline.

-  Transport services working group might be relevant.

- Have you thought of use-cases where both end-points are compromised? How
do you detect anthrax and bombs (in the mail analogy). What about security
concerns and not just privacy? A: primarily, with the earlier version the
net-effect – we are not exposing anything that previously got exposed.
Let’s take it offline.

- What if you want to inspect traffic for child pornography? A: I can’t
speak for the implementers. There is a tension.

Presenter 4: Gunes Acar paper on Battery Status not included: assessing
privacy in web standards New web features lead to privacy concerns.

W3C has a self-review questionnaire. Came out of the privacy interest group

Battery status API introduced in 2011. New research shows multiple privacy

Mic open:

- Recommendations on measurement are relevant. Participated in it 8 years
ago. I think this should not be standardized. Because there is no way of
having the info in the API without leaking. But drive in the W3C was very
strong. This is an important part of history on device API. Our threat
model understanding is better now but it remains a back-and-forth.

- PING group is very happy with this research. Security and privacy
questionnaire in W3C is currently being updated. We need people to get
involved in the work. We should reach out early.

-Implicit assumption in this work that API enable this kind of
fingerprinting are bad, but that’s not the consensus of the browser
vendors. It is not practical to prevent it in many cases.