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[Freedombox-discuss] my summary of yesterday's Hackfest

On 1 March 2011 18:23, Daniel Kahn Gillmor <dkg at fifthhorseman.net> wrote:
> On 03/01/2011 12:08 PM, Melvin Carvalho wrote:
>> On 1 March 2011 18:00, Daniel Kahn Gillmor <dkg at fifthhorseman.net> wrote:
>>> I have no objections to using X.509 certificates as simple, "dummy"
>>> public-key carriers (as soon as i can find the time, i hope to publish
>>> some work that encourages this use case, in fact).
>>> But I do have a strong objection to contaminating the Freedom Box with
>>> the flawed certificate authority model currently used by the
>>> "widely-adopted" mass of X.509 software.
>> Self sign your X.509 and you dont need a CA.
> Right; thereby discarding the flawed CA model, and using the certificate
> as a dummy public-key carrier. ?The problem with this is that we still
> have no way of verifying/revoking these keys. ?This is where the
> certificate format comes in, and is the place i think FreedomBox should
> use OpenPGP.

This is a very good point.

But actually there is a way in the case of the Freedom Box, because
you have the advantage of controlling your own server.

Since you are already running a webserver and (hopefully) have control
of your DNS.

You can provide a two-way verification chain.

1. Your Person Profile publishes your public key.  (this is a few
lines of html5, should be easy)
2. Point your self-signed X.509 to your Freedom Box profile.  This can
be done by putting an entry in the SubjectAltName field of the cert, a
common technique.

This provides strong verification for all the X.509 tool chain and
means you can talk security to any server using SSL/TLS which is most
of them, providing strong authentication as a side product.

>>>> I think the GNOME keyring is doing some unification work in this area.
>>> i'd be interested to see a pointer to this work.
>> http://memberwebs.com/stef/misc/guadec-usable-crypto.pdf
> thanks, i'm glad to see that they're on the right track. ?pkcs#11 is
> good for handling secret keys. ?unfortunately, the library spec is
> pretty weak for dealing with alternate certification mechanisms. ?I'll
> get in touch with these folks to see if there's a way to collaborate.
> ? ? ? ?--dkg
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