Dear all:

This is a two-fold announcement, big picture and specific document announcement. The whole thing is "for your information" as security experts.

A) The big picture refers to the "PKC-only application security scheme", in which client-server applications may be secured with client-side public key pairs, but *no trusted certification authority* is involved (server operators are expected to maintain a trusted database of their clients' public keys).

B) The specific document announcement refers to what is required to field the PKC-only application security scheme: explicit meaningless security certificates. The reference is "Explicit Meaningless X.509 Security Certificates as a Specifications-Based Interoperability Mechanism",

This post leaves it to your imagination and creativity about how a PKC-only security scheme may work in practical details, i.e. how the third party trust management may be replaced by first party trust management (first party = server operator as the relying party for client public keys). I have been doing some work in this area, but I have no results to report in a properly written document. Anyway, the PKC-only security scheme does not imply significant standardization for interoperability among independent service operators.

The document is open for discussion. It covers the minimal provisions for PKC-only deployment in the installed base of browsers supporting the TLS protocol.

Sometimes in the future, a very reduced version might be prepared as an Internet draft intended to the RFC editor publication route (RFC3932) with the experimental status (this is different from the individual RFC submission route in which the IESG is involved in the document publication process but no IETF working group is assigned an editorial role).

Good reading.


- Thierry Moreau

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