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Re: [tor-talk] Mozilla Persona and Tor

Thus spake Guido Witmond (guido@xxxxxxxxxx):

> In my not so humble opinion: Persona requires an email address!

Where exactly does the spec specify that identity providers MUST
allow users to receive email at the identity address?

The FAQ appears to state the opposite:

> Email addresses are Personal Identifying Data!
> Email addresses are a scarce resource for most of the worlds'
> people. Even for the enlightened few that have their own domains. Or
> the people that can use xxx+<variable part>@yyy.zzz like addresses
> if the site and their provider allows it.

As far as I can tell, the email address convention was created for
usability reasons, not as a protocol requirement.

> IMHO: The only way to use Persona privately is to use a throwaway
> email address for each different site.

Persona allows for identity providers with different policies to exist.
It is very federated. It is perhaps even more federated than OpenID in
that websites will implement a generalized protocol that supports *any*
identity provider, as opposed requiring them to implement support for
a specific list of identity providers.

Nowhere in the spec do I see anything that would prevent Tor from
creating an Identity Provider that gives you a new identity every time
you clicked New Identity (except for the fact that we would learn where
and when Tor Identities were later used, and we really don't want to
have that data in our logs, hence my previous concerns).

The downside is that many websites can and probably will eventually
restrict the number of Persona providers they actually accept, and they
may choose to draw this line arbitrarily at ones that support email.

However, many websites already restrict account creation to this line,
and some even draw the line at specific email providers.

So we would be no worse off than now, and if Persona could be made
acceptable to us, we would also have the ability to propose alternate
solutions within the model (such as Nymble and/or proof-of-work:
https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/4666). If those
solutions end up working better than email verification for limiting
abuse, they will gain acceptance among Persona-supporting websites.

As far as I can tell, Persona is a missing piece in a puzzle we have
been trying to solve for a long time. It's not the whole puzzle and it's
not *exactly* the right shape of puzzle piece right now, but it looks
like we can certainly hammer it in there if we have to ;).

Mike Perry

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