[Standards] e2e privacy for XMPP Re: RFC 3923 (e2e with S/MIME) and OpenPGP

Florian Zeitz florob at babelmonkeys.de
Mon Nov 18 12:53:46 UTC 2013

On 18.11.2013 13:38, Steffen Larsen wrote:
> Hi,
> On 18 Nov 2013, at 13:07, Andreas Kuckartz <a.kuckartz at ping.de> wrote:
>> Simon Tennant:
>>> IMHO, e2e security would probably make more sense as a XEP and working
>>> group that has the time to zoom into all the implementation details.
>> Can that be solved by an XEP ?
>> What about this IETF draft? (I still have to read it)
>> End-to-End Object Encryption and Signatures for the Extensible Messaging
>> and Presence Protocol (XMPP)
>> draft-miller-xmpp-e2e-06
>> https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-miller-xmpp-e2e/
>> There exist people who mention XMPP as belonging to "faulty
>> technologies" for which they want to create alternatives:
>> http://youbroketheinternet.org/
>> And I try to find out what can be done to improve XMPP regarding
>> security and privacy.
> Well you can “always” run XMPP on top of TOR if you like that, if it is the S2S routing that bothers you. :-)

I think we might actually have gotten to the point where stanza routing
is what bothers people.
I.e. having a to and from stamped on a stanza. I don't think it's
possible to get around the servers knowing this in XMPP. Between
servers, we hope encryption helps to hide this information.

End-to-end encryption IMHO is a separate issue. It is currently in scope
for the XMPP WG[1] at the IETF. I also doubt anyone will complain if it
is discussed here, or on the XMPP-security[2] mailing list.
I think currently our best bet is Matthew Millers E2EE draft. Though I
have to say it's rather complex. It also depends on the JOSE work being
finished. There is some hope though that implementations would be rather
simple once JOSE implementations are readily available.
Peter Saint-Andre has also repeatedly stated he is working with the OTR
folks towards an RFC document describing OTR.

A related issue I'd like us thinking about is trust, key distribution
and switching devices in general. It would be good if we could come up
with a way that allows each device to have its own private/public key
pair, but not requiring users to trust each public key individually.
Problems when switching resources during an encrypted conversations are
also way to commonplace right now. I think if we want any acceptance
these are issues we should try to solve.


[1] https://tools.ietf.org/wg/xmpp/
[2] http://mail.jabber.org/mailman/listinfo/security

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