IETF proposal to Prism-proof the Internet


The only answer for privacy is going to be to go meta, big time. Use a broadcast architecture, with many readers and writers with steganographic storage in mass binary data sets, like videos.

If it gets us non-repudiable communications, so spammers can be either reliably filtered out or tracked down and hung by their gonads in the public square, I’m all for it.

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The IETF hasn’t yet proposed this—this is an individual submission from Hallam-Baker. We are very interested in this topic, as you can tell if you follow the main IETF mailing list, and I’m certainly happy to see PHB floating a draft, but it’s really premature at this point to say “the IETF is…” with respect to this draft. Writing drafts is part of how the IETF collectively thinks.


Try this one simple trick:

Duh, wouldn’t it make better sense to just abolish the central government, since they can’t be trusted? All cultures in history have eventually collapsed from within or been conquered for pretty much the same reasons, so it might be nice to get a jump on history and just stop the game.

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A bit of syntactic ambiguity there. I read it as a proposal to the IETF, but you can read it either way.

Just about anyone can write a proposal to the IETF.

While IETF proposals should be evaluated based on their merit (rather than the author, etc.), there are three issues I have with this without reading too deeply into it:

(1) As other people have indicated, the IETF prefers to have proposals from groups of people - if for no other reason than some preliminary review of the ideas expressed in the proposal have been done. This proposal is single-sourced.

(2) The author is from Comodo - a Certificate Authority, and (reputedly) advocates greater use of the existing hierarchical structure of public-key/private-key security based on such authorities. There is a history of such authorities being compromised, and there is no apparent barrier to a government agency (US, Russia, Chinese, Nigerian, Syrian) from becoming an authority - all they need to do is subvert an existing authority or convince your OS or browser vendor to include them.

(3) This proposal is crudely cribbed from RFC 2629, as is evidenced from the title string “writing id-s using html”

None of these points address the technical merits of the proposal. They just discourage me from spending time reading it.

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Sure, absolutely. Interregnums are loads of fun, particularly if you like killing, rape, murder, property confiscation, and all the other fun things that happen when you don’t have rule of law. These are hard on people who are more interested in building than destroying, but don’t we want evolution to eliminate weaklings anyway?

Seriously, we’d all love it if human nature allowed anarchies to work, but human nature doesn’t allow that, and seriously trying to create anarchy without changing human nature is a recipe for major blood-letting. What we need is not no central government. What we need is a more active citizenry. And if you think about it, the only way an anarchy can work is if the citizenry is active. So why not start with the hard part—activating more citizens—and leave the rest for later?

Ah, interesting. Yes, you can read it that way, and that makes more sense—I couldn’t figure out why Cory would be so out of touch with IETF process… :slight_smile:

We always start a new RFC by stealing from old RFCs. It’s traditional, even if all we steal is the xml boilerplate. PHB does in fact argue that PKI S/MIME keys add value; he’s probably not entirely wrong, any more than it would be wrong to say that PKI TLS keys add value. But of course they don’t address keenly relevant threat models (e.g., NSA forcing Comodo to collect and divulge our S/MIME secret keys, which they could do given the current key generation process).

Don’t think of an internet draft as what’s on the menu for lunch, grist for your choice as to where to eat. Think of it as a plan for next weeks’ community lunch, which you can participate in and affect.

I don’t believe he was talking about an interregnum, he was talking about removing government forever. History shows that interregnums are indeed bad as you describe. But history cannot show us what no government is like, because it’s not happened for about 5,000 years on any kind of scale.

I don’t mean to be rude, but this is like talking about the second coming. The archeological evidence does not suggest that pre-historical cities were anarchic utopias. Whether or not some anarchic utopia is possible in the future is certainly an interesting question to speculate about, but that speculation can’t be a meaningful guide as to a plan for near-term improvement of our culture, for exactly the reason you state: we have never seen such a system, and don’t know how it could work.

It does seem clear to me though that it would require every citizen of such a utopia to have a strong ethical model that they follow, and to be actively involved in keeping things working. And that’s also a recipe for fixing a broken central government. So that is something that we can start doing now—we don’t have to wait until the second coming.

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interregnum IS no government, thing is people naturally form governments when ones don’t exist because that is the kind of creatures we are so any point where there is no government will ALWAYS be an interregnum.

Be it like talking about the second coming or not, I would say the difference between an interregnum and a permanent absence of government is like the difference between jumping off a cliff and flying. The former is a temporary state that may feel like the latter, but it’s not unless you have a means of sustaining it. Just because you have always come off badly when jumping off cliffs doesn’t mean you can’t create a hang glider. The closest we’ve had to a social hang glider has probably been the kibbutzim. To assume that no central government necessarily means death and destruction is badly wrong. At least, I’ve co-incidentally recently finished reading what is supposed to be one of the best surveys of this question (George Woodcock’s ‘Anarchism’), which book I would highly recommend for a better understanding of what “no government” means.

… is offtopic for a discussion of the IETF proposal.

People give lip service to freedom until somebody does something actually free. Then they start saying “Uh oh, we gotta put a stop to that!”

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I’d crib from an existing RFC/internet draft too. But I’d like to think I’d do a better job at it.

It just seems slap-dash.

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