[Standards-JIG] Re: The Great Encryption Debate

Justin Karneges justin-keyword-jabber.093179 at affinix.com
Tue Aug 9 15:37:12 UTC 2005


On Tuesday 09 August 2005 06:59 am, Ian Paterson wrote:
> IMHO the JSF is going to have to bite the bullet soon and produce a JEP
> that recommends some key-signing schemes (prefereably with a submission
> protocol that allows keys to be signed automatically in-band) to be
> incorporated into clients so that they can offer Aunt Tillie
> 100%-effortless security.

The trouble I always run into when trying to come up with effortless security 
is the issue of private keys.  No matter what we do, the user will end up 
with a private key (among other possible things, such as trust signatures) 
which will need to be maintained somehow.  The largest problem is that the 
user won't have any security if he attempts to login from another machine.  
Another problem is that this private data is at risk if the user does not 
know he should protect it (or does not know that he even has it!).

In my opinion (possibly one of resignation), end-to-end security requires a 
responsibility that "normal" users simply don't have.  However, I don't want 
to be elitist and say they don't deserve it or they don't want it.  Maybe 
when usb keyfobs become ubiquitous, it'll be another story.  For now, 99.9% 
of users can't handle private keys.

-Justin



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