Re: [TLS] chairs - please shutdown wiretapping discussion...

Colm MacCárthaigh <> Mon, 10 July 2017 16:42 UTC

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From: =?UTF-8?Q?Colm_MacC=C3=A1rthaigh?= <>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2017 09:42:14 -0700
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To: Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos <>
Cc: "Polk, Tim (Fed)" <>, "" <>
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Subject: Re: [TLS] chairs - please shutdown wiretapping discussion...
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On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 8:14 AM, Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos <>;

> Certainly, but that doesn't need to happen on this working group, nor
> protocols which implement similar solutions need to be called TLS.

I'll belabor this point: rather than thinking about what these providers
are owed, which is nothing, it is better to think about what is best for
TLS overall. Selfishly, I have a strong preference to see TLS1.3 succeed
and that within a matter of years, we no longer have to support TLS1.2 or
earlier versions.

If some networks and operators feel that they can't feasibly use TLS1.3,
they're very likely to stay on the older versions. We could consider
brinkmanship; and see who blinks first if we try to disable the older
versions anyway, but that's a gambit that often makes hostages out of
innocent users, and can end up serving to taint TLS1.3 with reliability
issues and hold back its adoption.

It's clear that there is a strong distaste here for the kind of MITM being
talked about, and many wish not to give it any kind of stamp of approval
within the standard; that that itself would also taint TLS1.3 with security
concerns. Proxies are proposed as a work-around instead, as it avoids any
changes to protocol. But this seems like cutting our noses off to spite our
faces. Proxies tend to be always-on and render plaintext much more
accessible than a tcpdump tap. Proxies are also inline, read-write, and
subject to exploit in a worse way than a tcpdump tap (which can be network
isolated). In real security terms, I absolutely buy that proxies would be
worse for overall security and all of the properties that TLS is supposed
to provide, in some environments. That would seem like a bizarre conclusion.