[Members] Messaging Interoperability initiative and the Digital Markets Act

E.M. emus at mailbox.org
Wed Jul 27 14:56:17 UTC 2022

Many thanks Matt! Great you took the time!

- Are there more meetings announced?

- Does anyone else have issues to register to the maillist?

- When it comes to communications, I had an idea in my mind for a while that now is worth to share I believe. I would like to present our most important XEPs into a more applicable way on the website.

Something like a polished matrix or table that shows application of standards (chat, iot,..) in respect to the standards we have been produced and are producing.

The idea is to show the range and flexibility we already have. Everyone interested to support here, let me know. I will draft a simple setup, so you get a better understanding of where I am trying to head for.

Other suggestions of course welcome.


Jul 26, 2022 1:58:05 PM Matthew Wild <mwild1 at gmail.com>:

> Hi folks,
> Yesterday I remotely attended an IETF meeting about forming a possible
> new working group focused on interoperability between messaging
> providers. Here follows a little report on that, and a little insight
> into the potentially big changes coming for internet messaging
> interoperability in the coming years.
> In case you missed it, the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) compels
> so-called "gatekeeper" providers to open their doors to third-party
> access, both for person-to-person messaging but also other
> integrations (for example, maybe an application that allows you to
> analyze or export your data).
> A "gatekeeper" is defined by a list of criteria, but the policy makers
> have crafted the criteria such that the definition applies to the
> usual suspects in big tech, without actually naming them directly. So
> this ultimately means Facebook, Apple, Google, and some others you
> might not immediately think of (Sony was mentioned, for example). Any
> small-medium sized independent XMPP operator certainly does not
> qualify as a "gatekeeper" under the DMA's criteria.
> In theory the DMA is great. As many of us know, Google especially, but
> also others used to provide interfaces to their platforms using XMPP,
> but gradually turned them off and restricted access to their
> proprietary apps. The DMA is aiming to reverse this process, and
> require them to open up again so that third-party services and
> software can interact with their platforms
> Rightly or wrongly, the DMA does not require them to use any specific
> technology or standard to do this (it can be argued that doing so
> would limit innovation). It is possible that some providers may choose
> XMPP, while Matrix folk are pushing for Matrix to be used, but by far
> the most likely outcome right now is that every provider publishes
> their own individual custom API.
> This has many people (rightly) worried that a lot of the potential
> benefits of these providers opening up may be lost if nobody agrees on
> a common standard. Every app, service and platform would have to
> develop integrations specifically with every other app, service and
> platform, rather than just implementing one API/protocol and
> automatically gaining compatibility with every messaging provider.
> In light of this potential future, the idea for a new working group at
> the IETF is under discussion. This group would work to identify common
> patterns across modern communication providers, and aim to, to some
> extent, describe reusable interoperable building blocks that the
> gatekeepers can utilize when opening up their platforms.
> It is early days, and still at the stage of "what do we want to do"
> and has not yet reached "how do we do it". There is also the reality
> that even if we work on this, there is no guarantee that even one
> gatekeeper would adopt it.
> Interoperability also has numerous technical challenges, still. The
> DMA requires that any API preserves common features like end-to-end
> encryption. Traditional gateways and bridges between protocols have
> always been free to translate between different wire formats, but with
> communication data being encrypted end-to-end, this becomes
> essentially impossible. Issues such as spam prevention were also
> raised as things that have come up as hurdles for large providers in
> the past.
> If all this is the kind of thing you're interested in, and you want to
> help potentially shape the future of interoperable messaging on the
> internet, the authors have requested feedback on the initial problem
> statement: https://www.ietf.org/id/draft-mahy-mimi-problem-outline-00.html
> The mailing list can be joined at https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/Mimi
> Either way, I hope this small report was useful and interesting to people.
> Regards,
> Matthew

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