[massanity] The message Patrik replied to

Nathaniel Borenstein nsb at guppylake.com
Sun Nov 14 18:12:50 CET 2004

I don't think my original message which Patrik replied to ever went 
through to the list, so here it is just in case:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Nathaniel Borenstein <nsb at guppylake.com>
Date: November 12, 2004 11:49:49 AM EST
To: massanity-request at lists.paf.se
Subject: Re: Welcome to the "massanity" mailing list

I'm afraid you lose me at step a):

On Nov 11, 2004, at 8:03 PM, massanity-request at lists.paf.se wrote:

> (a) I don't believe we will be able to have two ways of signing 
> message bodies in the long run. Either we have multipart/signed, or 
> sign the bucket of bits in the message (and ignore the MIME. We will 
> never be able to have both

This is not a belief that I share.  There are *lots* of things we have 
two ways of doing, why predict that this won't be another one?

More important, I don't think *either* of these two is the way most of 
us have been looking at doing MASS signatures.  I think we're working 
on a third model here, one I would characterize for lay audiences as a 
"low-resolution signature" (by analogy to low-res graphics).  Think of 
it not as a cryptographically signed message, but a cryptographically 
signed *checksum* of the message, using a checksum algorithm that is 
invariant across the kinds of whitespace shifting and line wrapping 
that characterizes email transport.

> (b) If we sign the bucket of bits, we destroy the ability to use 8BIT 
> content-transfer-encoding and the 8BITMIME ESMTP extension (that lead 
> to encoding of messages during flight in some cases).

This is the sort of issue we're still grappling with.  My current 
theory is that the "checksum" should be computed on a canonicalized 
version of the message that undoes all transport encodings and perhaps 
even ignores the purely syntactic elements of the MIME structure (e.g. 
the boundary line)

Does this help at all? -- Nathaniel

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