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IMC Resolving Email Security Complexity Workshop

1996-01-23 11:21:22
This is a query of your interest in participating in a working meeting.

As an initial activity of the newly-formed Internet Mail Consortium, we are
hoping to use the coincident timing of EMail World in San Jose and the ISOC
Security Conference in San Diego to call for an all-day meeting on the
matter of email security. (If you aren't familiar with the IMC, please
check out info(_at_)imc(_dot_)org or <>.)

This note is intended as a pre-announcement and a solicitation for feedback
concerning your interest.  We'd like to get a sense of the number and range
of folks who might/can/will attend.  We do not yet have logistics or
finances fully worked out, but the timing pressure is tight enough to
warrant this letter before the official announcement.  Comments about the
activity and, especially, an indication of availability, willingness, and
(best of all) intention to attend would be highly welcome.

        Please pass this note on to others who you think are
        (or should be) interested in email security.


As its first activity, the Internet Mail Consortium proposes to organize a
one-day workshop to consider the problem of multiple MIME-based security
mechanisms.  This is a complicated topic with a long and painful history,
but the previous pain is insignificant when compared to what is emerging
for vendors and, worse still, for users.

Our proposal is to conduct an open meeting with attendance by principals
and others involved in this area of work.  We will invite the key
contributors and solicit additional attendance by vendors, providers,
users, and technologists who are concerned with email security.

The attendance goal is to have a critical mass of those with the technical
expertise and industry involvement to review and debate the requirements,
capabilities, and possibilities.  The work goal is to seek common ground
for a common solution.

While we are not overly hopeful that the end of the day will see peace and
resolve among the masses, we do hope for a large amount of improved
understanding and some amount of convergence.  With luck, there will even
be improvement in the clarity of constituency for the different technical
choices -- that is, a strengthening of the political base for some of the

We would like to hold the event:

                Wednesday, 21 February
                8:30 am - 5:30 pm (all day)
                (Near) EMail World event, San Jose Convention Center, CA.

This is the last day of EMail World and the day before a two-day ISOC
Security conference in San Diego.

We propose to structure the meeting with a tight agenda, having a very
focused sequence of work on the problem; this is definitely not for general
education.  Some amount of review is appropriate, but not much.  Attendees
will be expected to be knowledgeable in the basic technologies, so that
only general systems design and specific algorithm choices need to be
cited. To help everyone prepare, the Internet Mail Consortium will organize
a set of mail-response and Web pages with references and summaries of the
current technologies, and will establish a mailing list for exchanges
leading up to the meeting.

Proposed Agenda

        Brief descriptions of the candidate solutions
        Review of the functional and technical requirements
        Review the extent to which each alternative satisfies the requirements
        Seek consensus about the requirements

        Haggle about the strengths and weaknesses of the technical alternatives
        Explore the choices and/or negotiate a preferred solution

Those who have worked on this topic in the IETF are quite tired of the
whole situation, but the unfortunate reality is that the current product
and user choices are quite problematic. We need to continue seeking a
viable service.

We expect to charge $50 per person, to cover basic costs.  I should
have more details about this next week.

Please do let us know your comments.  Thanks!


Dave Crocker                                                +1 408 246 8253
Brandenburg Consulting                                fax:  +1 408 249 6205
675 Spruce Dr.                                     
Sunnyvale, CA  94086 USA               

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