First of all — it was a great honor and great experience to participate in the ISOC Fellowship to the IETF 103. It gave me an opportunity to communicate with some people I was unable to meet otherwise and — last but not least — to participate in a discussion about Dostoevskiy and his role in world literature.
It was not my first time at the IETF meetings so I had some expectations from the meeting itself. I was more interested in Security area activity, but I thought that there will not be any significant discussions now when TLS 1.3 specification is finalized and published. But about a month before the conference, the letter calling to stop standardizing a national cryptography via IETF appeared, and it significantly changed my personal plans to this meeting.
Some words about a national cryptography. Most people use world-wide cryptographical algorithms, but some nations (mostly in the Asia-Pacific region and the former Soviet Union) have their own requirements related to cryptography. These requirements should not contradict to world practice (managed by IETF standards). So the idea to stop publishing national crypto standards as IETF documents seemed rather dangerous to people from Russia because it could create a mess in managing registries of algorithms and protocols and seriously limit their implementations in practice. I’m happy to say that as a result of the discussion no restrictions were applied.
The TLS WG was the most interesting for me. Two documents were actively discussed here. The first was a specification of the DTLS protocol version 1.3 aligned to already standardized TLS 1.3, and it means that we in Russia will have to adapt our specifications according to new trends. The second was dedicated to Encrypted Server Name Indication, an anti-surveillance measure rather important in the context of Human Rights.
I made a presentation of my own drafts in Secdispatch WG and got a useful feedback. Also, I attended two IRTF sessions with reports of current practice in using HTTPS and Quantum Computers, and a side meeting of SMART group, related to share experience in the sphere of defense against malware and phishing. On Friday there was a very useful meeting with Paul Hoffman (ICANN) dedicated to the KSK rollover in October.
There were two problems related to my participation in the Fellowship. The first was a necessity to get up early on Wednesday and Friday. Taking into account my jet lag, it was a challenge but I’ve survived it. The 2nd one was an overlap of the main IETF program and a dinner combined with discussion of how technical and legal communities working together can provide better protection to Human Rights. But the discussion was very interesting and it definitely was worth attending it even for non-fellows.
It was also a great pleasure to see some people from my sphere of interest at the wrap-up fellows meeting. It was great to meet Ben Kaduk, who actively participates in OpenSSL project, and to discuss some possible future development of the project. When it was possible, I tried to help my fellows to establish contacts with people from their sphere of interest, because IETF — despite the technical agenda — is mostly about contacts. It was also a great pleasure to see people I met during the previous meeting and feel myself a part of the community.