[messaging] RFC: Proposal for alternative primary identifiers in mobile messaging (specifically Signal)

Max Skibinsky max at skibinsky.com
Mon May 28 16:28:56 PDT 2018


>
> I've written it up on the signal forums here: https://community.signal
> users.org/t/a-proposal-for-alternative-primary-identifiers
>

‚ÄčTrevor, we actually implemented simular schema few years ago in "Zax"
relay: https://github.com/vault12/zax#readme  Address space is global for
all, address is a hash of a public key, and initial key exchange bootstraps
via SMS (http://bit.ly/zax-invites)

IMHO, the elephant in the room here is highly popular use case "phone
droped into toilet", which is about few times a year for a casual user. As
long as you need to support fresh phone bootstrap for casuals then phone
number remain "casual ID" - goes without saying casual user has no clue how
to backup her old phone, and she long forgoten whatever sequence of letters
you told her 4 months ago.

Right now everyone accepts the compromise of having one instant of weakness
(when phone number bootstraps long term PKI exchange) for the security of
continious operations after such bootstrap took place. Whatever solution
you end up doing it has to address the critical use case of user getting
completely fresh phone, no old artefacts preserved, and the only connecton
to his "past life" is his phone #.

- Max
- vault12.com
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