Root Store Policy 2.4.1 Published

Version 2.4.1 of Mozilla’s CA Policy has now been published. This document incorporates by reference the Common CCADB Policy 1.0 and the Mozilla CCADB Policy 1.0. Neither of these latter two documents has changed in this revision cycle.

This version has no new normative provisions; it is a rearrangement and reordering of the existing policy 2.4. Diffs against 2.4 are not provided because they are not useful; everything appears to have changed textually, even if nothing has changed normatively.

It’s on days like this that one remembers that making the Internet a better, safer and more secure place often involves doing things which are very mundane. :-) The next job will be to work on version 2.5, of which more later.

The Only Cure For Shame

Tim Chevalier reposted this Tumblr post from Peter Brunton, which has been rattling around inside my head for a few weeks. It makes me really sad, because Peter says he grew up in a “genuinely loving, caring, utterly wonderful” church, but it seems like they didn’t tell him (or he didn’t hear) how to deal with the shame that he rightly felt. I say rightly, because the Bible tells us that sexual sin should cause us to feel shame (Romans 1:26-27). The key piece that’s missing is that the right way to deal with this is not to hide or deny the shame, but to repent and believe the gospel.

The same book of Romans which calls sexual sin shameful tells us:

As it is written: ‘See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame.’

Trusting in Christ leads us to not have to feel ashamed any more. And in Hebrews 12 we read:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The victory won by Jesus at the cross deals with our shame just as it dealt with the supposed shamefulness of what happened to him. Whatever we may have done, he wipes the slate clean, allowing us to throw off our sin and “run the race” of faith and obedience.

It is true that he calls people who are same-sex attracted to do something that is not easy, but if God truly works all things for our good (Romans 8:28) then following him is always by far our best choice. Our sexual preferences are not who we are – they don’t define us. If we are following Jesus, that is our identity, and it subsumes everything else. And if our church is truly loving and caring, its members will help us in that journey. I don’t know if Peter will ever read this, but I pray he will one day come to see that, as many others have.

Firefox Secure Travel Addon

In these troubled times, business travellers occasionally have to cross borders where the border guards have significant powers to seize your electronic devices, and even compel you to unlock them or provide passwords. You have the difficult choice between refusing, and perhaps not getting into the country, or complying, and having sensitive data put at risk.

It is possible to avoid storing confidential data on your device if it’s all in the cloud, but then your browser is logged into (or has stored passwords for) various important systems which have lots of sensitive data, so anyone who has access to your machine has access to that data. And simply deleting all these passwords and cookies is a) a pain, and b) hard to recover from.

What might be very cool is a Firefox Secure Travel addon where you press a “Travelling Now” button and it:

  • Disconnects you from Sync
  • Deletes all cookies for a defined list of domains
  • Deletes all stored passwords for the same defined list of domains

Then when you arrive, you can log back in to Sync and get your passwords back (assuming it doesn’t propagate the deletions!), and log back in to the services.

I guess the border authorities can always ask for your Sync password but there’s a good chance they might not think to do that. A super-paranoid version of the above would also:

  • Generate a random password
  • Submit it securely to a company-run web service
  • On receiving acknowledgement of receipt, change your Sync password to
    the random password

Then, on arrival, you just need to call your IT department (who would ID you e.g. by voice or in person) to get the random password from them, and you are up and running. In the mean time, your data is genuinely out of your reach. You can unlock your device and tell them any passwords you know, and they won’t get your data.

Worth doing?

Mozilla CA Policy 2.4 Published

Version 2.4 of Mozilla’s CA Policy has now been published. This document incorporates by reference the Common CCADB Policy 1.0 and the Mozilla CCADB Policy 1.0, two new documents which govern our use of the Common CA Database which we hope several root programs will use to ease the administration burden.

This seems pretty super-geeky, but having clear, current, enforceable policies regarding the CAs and root certificates in our root program is important for us to continue to be open and transparent about how we run it, and to enable us to continue to drive the security of the web (which depends on the certificate system) in a positive direction.

The policy had not changed for a long time before this update, so this update addressed issues which were uncontroversial and/or urgent. The next job is to rearrange it into a more logical order and then, after that, for version 2.5, we will be looking at some of the more difficult and longer-term policy challenges we face in this space. Here’s the issue tracker if you want to get some idea of what those are. :-)