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Watch out spooks: STANDARDS GROUPS are COMING AFTER YOU

IETF promises PRISM-proofing plan for the future internet

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The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has vowed that the NSA won't be allowed to get away with its nefarious surveillance of the internet any more … as soon as 1,100 boffins can agree on a PRISM-proofing plan.

The IETF met this week in Canada and the communiqué issued makes it plain that the standards body is mad as hell about online surveillance and doesn't want to take it any more.

“Discussions over the past few months, including many in the more than 100 working group sessions this week, are carefully and systematically reviewing Internet security and exploring ways to improve privacy and other aspects of security for different applications," IETF chair Jari Arkko says in the communiqué.

Stephen Farrell, an IETF security area director, conceded “there are challenges isolating the specific areas of attack that IETF protocols can mitigate” but added that “all of the working groups that considered the topic have started planning to address the threat using IETF tools that can mitigate aspects of the problem."

Notes from the Vancouver meeting suggest meetings considered a few ways to harden the internet, including transport layer security (TLS) and “possibilities to get the TLS-secured versions more widely and consistently deployed.”

“Plans for upgrading the handling of mail, instant messaging and voice-over-IP protocols, in each case with a view to improving the resistance of the deployed base to pervasive monitoring,” also received some consideration, as did opportunistic encryption of multipath TCP.

Just what will emerge, and when, isn't known. But the NSA and spooks everywhere can consider themselves warned: standards committees have decided to make their lives hell. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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