[messaging] distributed social graph, was: collaborative random number generation

Trevor Perrin trevp at trevp.net
Sat Dec 12 11:02:56 PST 2015

On Sat, Dec 12, 2015 at 6:39 AM, carlo von lynX
<lynX at i.know.you.are.psyced.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 07, 2015 at 11:28:43PM -0800, Trevor Perrin wrote:
>> It's not clear how this relates to secure messaging.  Are you
>> proposing something like this?:
>>  1) Every user has a key pair.
> Improvement:
> 1) Every user has several key pairs for circles of their social
>    network. There is one public identity which is available to
>    attackers and only gives access to obvious public contacts,
>    if at all.

OK, so we're agreed GNS leaks social graph information to anyone who
knows your public key and can guess a bunch of "petnames".

Your solution is for users to have different GNS key pairs.  Users
will share each GNS public key only with contacts whom the user is
willing to have know about each other.

The goal seems to be allowing users to selectively disclose portions
of their local address book, i.e. their local database of (name =>
public key) information.

Selectively sharing this information is a good goal.  But there's
nothing technically hard about it (at its simplest, Alice could just
send Bob an encrypted message with a list of usernames and public keys
- no DHTs or "query privacy" protocols needed).

The hard part is the UI.  So it's not clear what GNS offers here.

>>  * Recursively-scoped names are going to be a confusing and new
>> concept for most users.
> I too find jack.jill.gnu indeed too complicated for some of us less
> techie humans, but if you provide a proper GUI it becomes pretty simple:
> You go to Jill's profile, view her friends and click on Jack. Then
> you have the option to adopt Jack as a friend trusting Jill to have
> given you the correct public key. Even better if all the social
> graphs of your other friends are available to your social app, then
> it can tell you that Jack is the same Jack that is also in Peter,
> Paul and Mary's social circle.

You can do that with global names too, of course.  Global names are
better because you know that Jill, Peter, Paul, and Mary are claiming
the same Jack, because it's the same name.  The idea that everyone can
have their own Jack seems confusing, rather than helpful.

Perhaps someone can make an argument for SDSI-style names [1] compared
to the "global namespaces" users are familiar with.  Aside from that,
I'm not seeing that GNS provides anything that interesting for
end-to-end secure messaging.

>> The Tor HSdir mechanism is solving a different problem - it makes it
>> hard to become a DHT node that will store certain entries.
> Something GNS already provides, AFAIU.

I don't think so, which is why Jeff started the previous thread.


[1] https://people.csail.mit.edu/rivest/sdsi10.html

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