IETF plays Hide-and-Go-Seek with April Fools privacy protocol

April Fools' Day IETF RFC would allow for network anonymity

IETF pranksters this weekend revealed their latest April Fools' Day requests for comments, including one that outlines use of Hide-and-Go-Seek techniques to encourage network privacy.

RFC 6593, titled "Service Undiscovery Using Hide-and-Go-Seek for the Domain Pseudonym System (DPS)," was submitted by three co-authors from Cisco.

ARCHIVES: 2011 IETF April Fools' Day RFCs

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The abstract reads: "With the ubiquitous success of service discovery techniques, curious clients are faced with an increasing overload of service instances and options listed when they browse for services. A typical domain may contain web servers, remote desktop servers, printers, file servers, video content servers, automatons, Points of Presence using artificial intelligence, etc., all advertising their presence. Unsurprisingly, it is expected that some protocols and services will choose the comfort of anonymity and avoid discovery. This memo describes a new experimental protocol for this purpose utilizing the Domain Pseudonym System (DPS), and discusses strategies for its successful implementation and deployment."

As you dive deeper into the RFC, the authors weave in various Hide-and-Go-Seek references such as counting and identifying a client as being "it." Other jokey references include the Silence-as-a-Service method of keeping hidden and the various levels of finding it, ranging from "absolute zero" to "warm" to "burning-up."

As for the other April Fools' Day RFC, No. 6592, there's nothing to see here: It's about The Null Packet. Our translator explains: "a null packet does not exist (it is zero length). The RFC is written as if a zero length packet can be encrypted, transmitted, etc."

Wikipedia includes a list of the foolish RFCs, which it shows began in 1978 though have been regularly pumped out since 1998.

Bob Brown tracks network research in his Alpha Doggs blog and Facebook page, as well on Twitter and Google +.


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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