[Freedombox-discuss] my summary of yesterday's Hackfest
On 1 March 2011 18:44, Daniel Kahn Gillmor <dkg at fifthhorseman.net> wrote:
> On 03/01/2011 12:33 PM, Melvin Carvalho wrote:
>> 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.
> This doesn't provide an adequate means of revocation, though. ?If an
> attacker gets control over your key, and is able to repoint DNS, then
> you cannot publish any revocation statement about this key through this
If an attacker does gain these two points of control, and they knew
what they were doing, you could have an issue yes.
We need to scope out a revocation model, but I dont think it's that
hard. May already be something existing, I'll have a check.
> OpenPGP already has a globally distributed keyserver network that can be
> used this way.
Dont get me wrong, I'm not against OpenPGP. However most people tend
to think it's an either/or choice. I'm advocating trying to get the
best of both worlds. Two great flavors.
> Also, your proposal (as i understand it) doesn't include any mechanisms
> for third-parties to make certification statements about your key, which
> would be critical for establishing secure connections to
> as-yet-uncontacted nodes in a distributed network.
Well any statement made under your DNS web root is a DNS backed claim.
You can also sign documents or statements with a key.
HTML5 is again useful for making statements. It's as easy as:
<span about="#me" property="name">Joe Bloggs</span>
> These two points are what i meant when i said that this model has "no
> way of verifying/revoking these keys".
> I'm sure you could graft something like this onto <X.509+your scheme
> above>; but OpenPGP already exists and handles these cases pretty well.
> ?Why reinvent the wheel?
Because X.509 is quite webby, and the web is the dominant ecosystem on
Since almost all servers talk TLS/SSL and almost all browsers, not to
mention client libraries and the command line.
Unfortunately OpenPGP cant do all the things that X.509 can do and vice versa.
Standardization of this is already underway as part of the W3C so may
not be much to reinvent, I should be able to raise any issues found
here with the relevant groups so that we can find a solution at Web
> ? ? ? ?--dkg
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