[Cryptography] A callsign registry Was: Standards Trolls

Phillip Hallam-Baker phill at hallambaker.com
Wed Feb 3 13:38:55 EST 2021

On Mon, Feb 1, 2021 at 9:21 PM jrzx via cryptography <
cryptography at metzdowd.com> wrote:

> On Tuesday, January 26, 2021 11:24 PM, Ray Dillinger <bear at sonic.net>
> wrote:
> > What you're checking with the authority about is the potential for
> inconsistent additional
> > uses of the token. If you check with an authority and discover there was
> a particular chain
> > height where the authority's chain and the token's chain show different
> spends for
> > example, you can figure out who double spent it, revoke their cert, and
> sue them for
> > counterfeiting.  But you don't need the authority's help to see that the
> record of spends
> > from minting to you is well-formed, and the double-spend->revoke
> feature, combined with
> > certs NOT being freely available, should keep instances of double
> spending very rare.
> "Certs not being freely available" is the number of the beast problem that
> crypto currency attempts to address.

The original Haber Stornetta patent is title 'Catenate certificate'. It was
conceived as a PKI. And that is how I am now looking to apply it in my TKI.

What I do not do is (1) proof of work, (2) pretend to mint currency or (3)
pretend a ledger based system provides anonymous cash.

I am almost done with the support code for the service, here is how I see
Mesh callsigns working:

1) The callsign catalog is maintained as an append only log authenticated
by means of a Merkle tree that is periodically signed by the registry
authority and cross notarized with other logs on a regular basis. This
results in a very high social work factor for anyone trying to modify
entries after a few hours have elapsed.

2) The registry does not provide lookup services directly. These are
provided by separate providers who maintain complete, realtime copies of
the log maintained by the registry. This insulates the registry from DoS
attacks and ensures that the worst case scenario for the registry is it
stops accepting new registrations.

Third party lookup services are chosen by the user and MAY offer anti-abuse
filtering services. I have no interest in Boris Johnson or his ilk
censoring my content but I might well pay a Comodo or a McAfee or the like
to curate callsigns to eliminate known bad actors that might harm me.

3) A callsign registry entry maps a name (e.g. @alice) onto a public
signature verification key fingerprint (MER2-ER...) and a service provider.
The only case in which a registration needs to be updated by the user is
when they change service providers. The signature verification key is the
root of trust under which the name is interpreted.

3a) (2) and (3) combined eliminate over 99% of the cost of running the
registry. It is the thinnest of thin registries. This is important because
I will be funding the running costs for at least the first several years
myself. I do not want to have to take VC or other funds to do this. So the
cost of running the registry has to be manageable even in the case of a
success disaster.

3b) The callsign registry forms a key-centric PKI. The cost of validation
is avoided in the first instance by making issue of names coextensive with
the registration of keys. No ambiguity in the interpretation of @example
or @alice or @bob can arise from the use of the callsigns.

4) Service providers are identified by callsign. Service discovery is
effected by either a DNS name (example.com) or by the IP address of
authoritative DNS servers for the domain example._mmm. Thus, Mesh
applications can continue to function even in the case that a service
provider's DNS registration is deleted or interfered with.

5) 'In ordinary circumstances' registrations are for life. The only
circumstance in which callsigns are reassigned is in cases of an
intellectual property dispute over the name itself. And such reassignment
does not cause redirection of previous bindings.

5a) What this means is that if Alice exchanges contact information
with @bob and the callsign is subsequently reassigned because of an IPR
dispute, the contact information in Alice's contact directory is unchanged
and her instant messages, etc. go to the Bob she exchanged contact info

5b) Obviously names such as @skype and @telegram and @microsoft have
pre-existing semantics implied from their existing use in the world. These
MUST be interpreted in the way people expect or bad things will happen.

6) The registry authority is a not-for profit. Callsign registrations of
'long' names are performed on a cost recovery basis which 'should' be no
more than $0.10 per name. Shorter names cost more. The surplus from the
registration fees goes to fund development of open source resources to
support the Mesh infrastructure (code, specifications, courses, etc). This
should preclude attempts to set up rival registries unless the original
registry commits a significant breach of good faith.

So how do we use this? One of the most important is for contact exchange.
This is not a new proposal of course. But each and every time a contact
exchange app becomes really popular, a Google or the like steps in, buys it
up and shuts it down. These companies do not want to empower users with the
ability to switch between communications providers without cost, I do.

So Alice meets Bob and they bump their phones, as a result, Alice gets
Bob's contact info:

@Bob {
    Signature: MB2GK-6DUF5-YGYYL-JNY5E-RWSHZ
    MSP: [example.com, example.net]
    DNS: [bob at example.com]
    Tel: [+1 666 555-0199]
    Mesh: [bob at skype, bob42 at telegram, bob69 at signal, ... ] }

The point here is that the Mesh namespace federates and disambiguates the
rest.  bob at example.com is interpreted relative to the ICANN root.  bob at skype
is interpreted relative to the Mesh callsign registration for @skype which
will only be registered so that it goes to the place users reasonably

Notice here that Skype, Signal, Telegram, etc, get their TLDs in mesh space
for a few thousand bucks, most of which will be engineering time working
out how to make the connection between Mesh callsign space and their
infrastructure 100% solid. There will never be a renewal fee. And that is
critical for Bob and Alice because they don't want their names to rely on
the demands from ICANN's yacht fund for increased rents.

My plan is to preallocate certain callsigns to ensure they go to the right
people and organizations. @LewisHamilton should go to exactly one person.
And given the anti-abuse mechanisms in the Mesh, Hamilton could use that as
his callsign for both his family and his fans. He just has to authorize the
two sets differently.

That won't be perfect, nothing ever is. But we can try. One possibility
would be to run the proptype registry for a year and allow people to
propose names of people that should be reserved.
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