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The Twitter Dialog

The Twitter Dialog

From:
Sir Valiance
Date:
2011-06-09 @ 06:04
Hi Everyone,

I am posting the Twitter conversation that took place a few days back
after it was suggested that someone collect the dialogue and post it to
a mailing list.

I followed the conversation and hashtags and made an
attempt at "threading" and organizing it the best I could to make it
readable.

At the end of the conversation I said that I would be posting this to
remailer@librelist.com (here) but then it was suggested to post to
p2p-hackers so I will cross-post for now.

I will be sending a follow up message and my thoughts on what can be
done, what I plan to work on, and a general response to some of the
issues discussed previously in the next few days.

Thank You, 
Valiance


The individuals involved in the conversation:

https://twitter.com/#!/sirvaliance/
https://twitter.com/#!/lensassaman
https://twitter.com/#!/antagonismorg
https://twitter.com/#!/zooko
https://twitter.com/#!/nickm_tor
https://twitter.com/#!/maradydd
https://twitter.com/#!/TomRittervg
https://twitter.com/#!/hellais

* Conversation Begins *


lensassaman:

@sirvaliance How's it going, coming up to speed on Mixminion? When I'm
back in Leuven we should really talk; Sphinx is the better primitive.

        sirvaliance:

        @lensassaman It is going quite well I think. No code the past
couple
days, just reading about the topic.

        sirvaliance:

        @lensassaman I would love to talk about your thoughts on
mixminion,
etc.! I will be working on it this weekend.

                nickm_tor:
                
                @sirvaliance I would love to talk about mixminion ideas.
I don't have
time to hack on it these days, but I still care about the design.

                        sirvaliance:

                        @nickm_tor Awesome! I am still early in
researching the topic so the
only work so far was maintenance.

                        sirvaliance:

                        @nickm_tor I would love to talk as well and I
will be sure to keep
you updated!
                        
                zooko:

                @sirvaliance @lensassaman I'd love to listen in on that
conversation,
too. I still think I was right about http://x.co/Xbda http://x.co/Xbdf
                        
                        lensassaman:
                        
                        @zooko Can't shift gears to fully grok those
messages right now; on
deadline for a different topic. But, you're aware of ... cc/@sirvaliance

                        lensassaman:

                        @zooko ... Minx and Sphinx right? Both are
advances on Mixminion's
tagging attack protection. Minx is broken, I think, but ... @sirvaliance

                                zooko:

                                @lensassaman @sirvaliance I never really
grokked Sphinx in its
fullness, and hadn't even heard of Minx!

                        lensassaman:

                        @zooko ... introduced some new ideas; there's
also been some work in
provable constructions against tagging attacks. @sirvaliance

                        lensassaman:

                        @zooko ... introduced some new ideas; there's
also been some work in
provable constructions against tagging attacks. @sirvaliance

                lensassaman:
                
                @sirvaliance Okay; you'll want to look at how Mixmaster
did things,
too, and if you can, read over the ML archives about Mixmaster 4.0.

        
sirvaliance:

@zooko @lensassaman @nickm_tor I am going to start collecting the
research on the topic and find a central location to publicly post it.
        
        lensassaman:

        @sirvaliance @zooko @nickm_tor Well, there *already* is a
central
location for mix-net related research: the Anonbib.

                sirvaliance: 

                @zooko @lensassaman @nickm_tor I meant a site devoted to
cypherpunk
issues, not just anonymity papers and research.

                        lensassaman:

                        @sirvaliance @zooko @nickm_tor Ah, gotcha. That
would, indeed, but
useful. The question is, what do you decide *isn't* relevant?

                        tomrittervg:
                
                        @lensassaman @sirvaliance If it would get more
replies on
liberation-tech, /r/crypto, randombit or wherever - people will put it
there.

                                zooko:

                                @TomRittervg @lensassaman @sirvaliance
You're welcome to use
p2p-hackers, too.

                                        lensassaman:

                                        @zooko @TomRittervg @sirvaliance
p2p-hackers really is where the
cypherpunk-like discussions happen these days, so for a wider audience,
do.

nickm_tor:

#mixminion IMO the current top 10 problems with mixminion don't begin to
include any need to change its crypto a la minx/sphinx.

nickm_tor:

Top 11 #mixminion issues: 11.Should be modular 10.Should use mlock and
encrypted storage 9.Dummies and link padding might be workable today

nickm_tor:

#mixminon issues ct'd 8. Die, SHA1, Die! 7. IPv6 support 6. Needs a
nymserver. 5. Needs a less fascist envelope format: E2E-spec is crud

nickm_tor:

#mixminion issues ct'd: 4. DH-768? In 2011?? 3. The crypto should be a C
library. 2. The directory protocol is a single point of failure.

nickm_tor:

And the number 1 remaining #mixminion issue IMO: It's unclear to me
whether anon remailers can get enough users to provide them anonymity.

lensassaman:

#mixminion From my perspective as Mixmaster maintainer, I'm where I was
in 2003; wanting a next-gen protocol that solves *my* list of probs.

lensassaman:

@nickm_tor @sirvaliance I've been thinking about getting Mixmaster 3.2
working on Android, then bringing it up to speak Mixminion; how well

@nickm_tor @sirvaliance trusted is Sphinx, really? There's advantages to
using it because of the use of ECC if we're talking SMS mixing.


        sirvaliance:

        @lensassaman @nickm_tor I was actually thinking about doing the
exact
same thing to #mixminion (mixminion/master) on Android

        sirvaliance:

        @lensassaman @nickm_tor My "day job" right now is building
Android/iPhone applications and the first thought was how to port
#mixminion

        maradydd:

        @lensassaman @sirvaliance @nickm_tor FYI whoever did the Tor NDK
port
left incredibly helpful instructions, thanks for that


nickm_tor:

@lensassaman @sirvaliance @zooko we ought to start talking using a
#mixminion tag.

        lensassaman:

        @nickm_tor @sirvaliance @zooko Agreed. Topic of discussion: is
Sphinx a
suitable message format for Type III remailers? #mixminion
                
                nickm_tor:

                @lensassaman @sirvaliance @zooko IIRC Sphinx is suitable
for
#mixminion use, but like I said replacing the crypto isn't a top-10
need.

nickm_tor:

And the number 1 remaining #mixminion issue IMO: It's unclear to me
whether anon remailers can get enough users to provide them anonymity.


nickm_tor:
        
#mixminion issues ct'd: 4. DH-768? In 2011?? 3. The crypto should be a C
library. 2. The directory protocol is a single point of failure.

        sirvaliance:

        @nickm_tor @lensassaman @zooko I am new to the topic, but the
#mixminion directory protocol jumped out as needing some reworking.

                nickm_tor:

                @sirvaliance dir-agreement.txt has a proposed improved
#mixminion dir
format; can't recall if I still like it. Probably needs revision.

                lensassaman:

                @sirvaliance The #Mixminion Directory Protocol has a
*lot* of
problems; I suspect it was a stub. You really want something like
Leuchtfeuer.

                

nickm_tor:

@antagonismorg Whatever we need to build to get enough users, #mixminion
and other remailers don't IMO have it yet. Not sure what it is.

        tomrittervg:

        @nickm_tor @antagonismorg I'm pretty sure it's a user experience
that's
easy to use and understand. #mixminion
                
                nickm_tor:

                @TomRittervg @antagonismorg IMO the biggest
userexperience issues are
easy replies, long-term nyms, and <30min arrival times. Maybe GUIs too

                        sirvaliance:

                        @nickm_tor @TomRittervg @antagonismorg
Definitely GUI's, I don't
think you should have to know your way around a command line to be anon.

                nickm_tor:

                @TomRittervg @antagonismorg But for <30min arrival times
to be safe,
we would need far more users. Possible chicken and egg

                        antagonism:

                        @nickm_tor TomRittervg how did Tor get around
that issue when it
started.

                                nickm_tor:

                                @antagonismorg By telling hacker types
"this is experimental stuff;
give it a try!" But anonymity of low-latency nets scales differently.
        


                antagonismorg:
                
                @TomRittervg users understand why to use Tor, anon
mailing they don't
seem to.

        antagonismorg:

        @nickm_tor In regards to issue 1, I think if we build it, they
will
come.

                nickm_tor:

                @antagonismorg Whatever we need to build to get enough
users,
#mixminion and other remailers don't IMO have it yet. Not sure what it
is.

                        sirvaliance:

                        @nickm_tor @antagonismorg @lensassaman I had
some ideas for mobile
apps, possibly even a web app (do not know yet know practical web is)
                        
                                antagonismorg:

                                @sirvaliance look into pyano for a web
interface for mixmaster

                                nickm_tor:

                                @sirvaliance The problem with a webapp
is: how do you know that an
untrusted site is giving you a good anonymizer? #mixminion

                                nickm_tor:
                        
                                @sirvaliance ...and if the website is
trusted, why not just use them
as a one-hop relay?

                                        sirvaliance:

                                        @nickm_tor In the case for the
webapp, I was thinking for the not
so technically advanced users. To at least give them something.
                                
                                        sirvaliance:

                                        @nickm_tor I was thinking more
like Tor Exit Enclave ==> Web App
==> Mixminion. Maybe not very well thought out though.
                                        
                                                nickm_tor:

                                                @sirvaliance If webapp
is untrusted, I'm not sure that would
provide more anonymity than Tor exit enclave ==> Web App ==> SMTP...
                                                
                                                nickm_tor:

                                                @sirvaliance But if
webapp is honest, I'm not clear what the Tor
step gets you. More thought needed.



nickm_tor:

(I never got my C #mixminion backend working, but the packet format is
mostly there, and ISTR liking the api.)

lensassaman:

#mixminion I'd really like to see an implementation done in Haskell, if
we were doing it from the ground up, architected a la postfix.

        sirvaliance:

        @lensassaman DJB's qmail is also an excellent implementation of
this
concept.

lensassaman:

#mixminion Mixmaster 2.0.x lent itself to "compile as library, link"
easily, and we had a number of plugins based on it as well as wrappers.

nickm_tor:

Just asked Ian G: he says Sphinx had code at
http://crysp.uwaterloo.ca/software/Sphinx-0.8.tar.gz . #mixminion people
might be interested.

        fpietrosanti:

        @nickm_tor any clue on leveraging tor existing network to make a
#mixminion like email system alive?
        
                nickm_tor:
        
                @fpietrosanti Not per se; my #mixminion issues are ones
Tor wouldn't
solve, or wouldn't solve consistently with minion's threat model.

hellais:

@nickm_tor do you recon #mixminion plus hashcash would be able to
provide anonymous email over tor while avoiding spam?

        nickm_tor:
        
        @hellais the paper "proof of work proves not to work" argues
that any
POW system hard enough to slow spam would impact users unacceptably.

sirvaliance:

@zooko @lensassaman @nickm_tor I would like to put together some sort of
a mailing list, maybe even a crypto http://news.ycombinator.com
        
        sirvaliance:

        @lensassaman @zooko @nickm_tor I am thinking about taking
http://lamsonproject.org/ and building a web-app, mailing-list hybrid.

        tomrittervg:

        @sirvaliance @zooko @lensassaman @nickm_tor Revitalizing
remailers is
very encouraging. I'm interested, pretty sure @antagonismorg is also

                antagonismorg:

                @TomRittervg most definitely, @lenassaman @zooko
@sirvaliance
@nickm_tor

        lensassaman:

        @nickm_tor @sirvaliance Oh! Now, that's *rather* useful.
#mixminion

nickm_tor:

@sirvaliance 140-char limit is getting annoying. You seem most anonymous
here: what works for you? IRC? Lists? RFC2549? Other?


qbi:

Oh @lensassaman does some brainstorming on #Mixminion. Good ideas. Maybe
collect them and discuss on mailing list?

        lensassaman:

        @qbi Not just me; @nickm_tor and @sirvaliance kicked it off;
check the
#mixminion tag.

lensassaman:

#mixminion I think we absolutely must have clean separation between the
discrete components in the remailer software, akin to postfix.

lensassaman:

#mixminion I'd like to see a crypto exe, a pool mix exe, a MMTP exe, a
remailer function API, etc; GUIs should be drop-in-able.

        antagonismorg:

        @lensassaman definitely like that idea, monolithic programs are
hard to
review/understand

                lensassaman:

                @antagonismorg *nod* That's why I dislike them in
general; in this
case, it's also key to allow for easy functionality transfer.   

                lensassaman:

                @antagonismorg My vision is "one protocol set, many
implementations."
The code that runs on phones may not be what runs on laptops.

lensassaman:

#mixminion I think forward and reply messages need to be considered
separate until something much more clever than SURBS is invented.

lensassaman:

#mixminion I note that Mixmaster's approach (don't do replies) simply
meant people kept using the Type I reply blocks (MURBS), and cringe.

lensassaman:

#mixminion I don't know that there is a really good solution here. I do
think SURB functionality is useful for other reasons, though.

lensassaman:

#mixminion I'd really like to see an implementation done in Haskell, if
we were doing it from the ground up, architected a la postfix.

lensassaman:

#mixminion I will argue the ability to create wrappers for, or embed the
code for, the remailer client is what drives usability advances.

lensassaman:

#mixminion Mixmaster 2.0.x lent itself to "compile as library, link"
easily, and we had a number of plugins based on it as well as wrappers.

lensassaman:

#mixminion Mixmaster 2.9/3.0 really broke that ability, and so we were
never able to fully phase out the 2.0.x codebase.

lensassaman:

#mixminion Eventually, things like Quicksilver (the remailer client for
Windows that relied on Mixmaster 2.0.x for its crypt) bit-rotted.

lensassaman:

#mixminion Maybe we should take this to a mailing list, though. I'm done
for the night; have real work to do.

sirvaliance:

@lensassaman @zooko @nickm_tor In the mean time, I set up a temp list at
http://librelist.com. Email remailer@librelist.com to subscribe.

sirvaliance:

@TomRittervg @maradydd @antagonismorg To continue, I set up a temp list
at http://librelist.com. Email remailer@librelist.com to subscribe.

sirvaliance:

@lensassaman @qbi @nickm_tor I will compile todays conversation into a
post on the list remailer@librelist.com. @qbi send a message to sub.

* Conversation Ends *