Re: [rtcweb] Traffic should be encrypted. (Re: Let's define the purpose of WebRTC)

Roman Shpount <> Thu, 10 November 2011 22:07 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost (localhost []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 8278121F86A1 for <>; Thu, 10 Nov 2011 14:07:44 -0800 (PST)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: -2.894
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-2.894 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[AWL=0.082, BAYES_00=-2.599, FM_FORGED_GMAIL=0.622, HTML_MESSAGE=0.001, RCVD_IN_DNSWL_LOW=-1]
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id D21ZTHFvoDP6 for <>; Thu, 10 Nov 2011 14:07:44 -0800 (PST)
Received: from ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 80ADA21F867F for <>; Thu, 10 Nov 2011 14:07:43 -0800 (PST)
Received: by eyg24 with SMTP id 24so3383023eyg.31 for <>; Thu, 10 Nov 2011 14:07:41 -0800 (PST)
Received: by with SMTP id k10mr2286149ebd.140.1320962861317; Thu, 10 Nov 2011 14:07:41 -0800 (PST)
Received: from ( []) by with ESMTPS id f36sm26350628eef.4.2011. (version=TLSv1/SSLv3 cipher=OTHER); Thu, 10 Nov 2011 14:07:39 -0800 (PST)
Received: by dyl37 with SMTP id 37so188048dyl.31 for <>; Thu, 10 Nov 2011 14:07:37 -0800 (PST)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Received: by with SMTP id b10mr18437032pbi.18.1320962856964; Thu, 10 Nov 2011 14:07:36 -0800 (PST)
Received: by with HTTP; Thu, 10 Nov 2011 14:07:36 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <>
References: <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 17:07:36 -0500
Message-ID: <>
From: Roman Shpount <>
To: Harald Alvestrand <>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=bcaec520f2afd9d1cc04b168a1a0
Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Traffic should be encrypted. (Re: Let's define the purpose of WebRTC)
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.12
Precedence: list
List-Id: Real-Time Communication in WEB-browsers working group list <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 22:07:44 -0000

On Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 4:37 PM, Harald Alvestrand <>wrote;wrote:

>  So far, we've heard arguments that:
> - encryption uses more CPU (true, but arguably not significant compared to
> media processing)
> - It is needed for legacy interoperability (may be true for some, but not
> necessarily compelling)
> - It helps debugging (which has been disputed by people who debug systems)
> Did I miss some?
Encryption being illegal in some situations is yet another reason (I know
about the IETF position on wiretapping, but I would still argue that this
is a valid reason.)

Higher barrier to entry for building new services -- for instance if you
are building a media server to work with WebRTC client. Having one more
thing to implement before something works is not critical, but makes a

Debugging is actually not a decided issues since we have not reached
consensus on the key exchange protocol. Depending on it, debugging can be a
lot more or much less difficult. We do provide an SIPS/SRTP/HTTPS enabled
systems and services to our customers, but we are regularly being asked to
turn security off for debugging.

These arguments are not very strong and would not prevent WebRTC from being
used (except the illegal part). My main problem is that mandatory
encryption is not serving any useful purpose. I strongly oppose the
illusion of security when communications are not secure. If an application
is delivered over HTTP, the fact that media is encrypted is irrelevant and
provides no useful security. There is a duality about web based
applications with HTTP and HTTPS. I think WebRTC should reflect this. There
is a working model present for HTTP applications already (secure document
-- secure communications, insecure document -- insecure communications), so
I do not see the reason to break it.
Roman Shpount