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introducer trust model, Was: Eat this RIAA (or, the war has begun?)

  • From: Karsten W. Rohrbach
  • Date: Thu Aug 22 08:30:13 2002

Steven M. Bellovin(smb@research.att.com)@2002.08.22 02:03:32 +0000:
> I assume you're talking about the Berman bill -- for the full text, see
> http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c107:1:./temp/~c107Pidyhy::
> (it's not law yet).  Note in particular that although they have to 
> notify the Attorney-General of the technologies they intend to use, 
> the bill doesn't say anything about IP addresses.  Note also that the 
> technology list is confidential.
> 
> Actually, the entire text is pretty appalling -- but read it for 
> yourself.

hmmmmmmm....

all of the efforts to block/modify connections via adress based methods
(blackholing whole networks, bh based on AS, ...) are up to no avail,
IMHO. let their ``hacker'' folks just order a bunch of dsl lines
distributed all over the major providers, and those methods don't make
any sense.

the same problems apply to blocking incoming SMTP connections, or mails
from/to specific addresses, SPAM.

thinking a little bit more about the issue with networked services in
general (including SMTP and the spam/abuse problems, as well as
filesharing and many more), the conclusive decision would be to define a
bullet proof standard on introducer based trust, deriving a certain
trust level or metric from a peer-trust based trust chain. this has
several (dis)advantages:
- no central authority involved, nobody will charge your creditcard for
  issuing a certificate
- somewhat more unsharp but still pretty restrictive method of applying 
  permissions to use resources
- follows the basic paradigm behind TCP/IP, delivering a
  never-lights-out trust model that cannot be compromised easily, if it
  is good in design and implementation

i am not an expert in this field, but i think that a generic standard
for this kind of trust model is long overdue, the only application
nowadays out there in the wild using it being pgp's model of the web of
trust. 

creating such a generally applicable model of introducer trust, starting
from design over implementation of a portable library that does it all,
up to plug-in extensions to existing software (like hooking it up to
SMTP greetings of the major flavours of MTAs, adding it to certain
protocols, like HTTP, where it could easily replace most HTTP-Basic-Auth
style systems of most community sites, like adding it to say gnutella's
protocol, etc.) would solve a whole bunch of problems we all got today.
with a certain amount of engineering effort, it might be applicable to
IPSEC, too.

of course there will be new problems that arise, and we need to take
them into account. together with a bunch of folks that feel theirselves
at home in the networked services, PKCS and protocol areas, there should
be an (half)open discussion, to pave the road to get such a thing on
track. this won't be an easy or short term project. also, i'm quite sure
that there has been done quite some research in this field, being open
or closed source/papers already, which should be aggregated to see the
big picture.

suggestions welcome, tell me what you think, even if you think that it's
a moronic idea (in any case, the ``why'' is the important point)

regards,
/k

-- 
> In protocol design, perfection has been reached not when there is nothing
> left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. 
> --Networking truth #12, Ross Callon, RFC 1925 
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