Security

Mozilla devs discuss ditching Dutch CA, because cryptowars

We don' want no STEENKIN' proxies, as will be possible under new local laws

By Richard Chirgwin

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Concerns at the effect of The Netherlands' new security laws could result in the country's certificate authority being pulled from Mozilla's trust list.

The nation's Information and Security Services Act will come into force in January 2018. The law includes metadata retention powers similar to those enacted in other countries, and also grants broad-based interception powers to Dutch security services.

Mozilla maintainers worry that interception could be enabled by abusing SSL proxying, giving rise to the proposal that the national CA – the CA of the Staat der Nederlanden – be taken off Firefox's automatic trust list.

Chris Van Pelt, who reported the issue, writes: “This revision of the law will authorise intelligence and security to intercept and analyse cable-bound (Internet) traffic, and will include far-reaching authorisations, including covert technical attacks, to facilitate their access to encrypted traffic.

“Article 45 1.b, explicitly authorises the use of 'false keys' in third party systems to obtain access to systems and data”, he continues.

Van Pelt also argues that the law reaches far beyond The Netherlands, since the country is home to major transit services into and out of Europe.

Since the certificate authority in question is operated by The Netherlands' General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), Van Pelt suggests accepting the certificate is “no longer appropriate”.

The proposal has yet to move beyond the initial Mozilla ticket. ®

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