[messaging] Thoughts on keyservers

elijah elijah at riseup.net
Mon Aug 18 16:21:41 PDT 2014

On 08/18/2014 07:32 AM, Nadim Kobeissi wrote:

> I've read the overview for Nyms and I'm scratching my head as to why it
> would be a good idea to bring what is effectively a CA-like system to
> email. Effectively what Nyms seems to be proposing is establishing
> key-signing authorities but for email, similar to how HTTPS/SSL works
> right now with certificate authorities.

Nyms is radically different than CA infrastructure in several important

(1) the model is trust but verify, which is very very different than
trust all authorities equally for everything.

(2) although called "trusted notaries" they are not really trusted. They
are just key endorsers. Unlike x.509, a key could be endorsed by
multiple notaries and the notaries are continually audited.

(3) the website authentication problem is very different than the email
recipient authentication problem (see previous email).

Mostly just rephrasing what Bruce wrote.

It is an open question how to deal with a notary that is known to be
bad, and who decides. In many cases, the endorser will also be the mail
provider, and users can punish a bad mail provider by leaving.


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