Privacy vs confidentiality in protocols

Sunday, 7 Jun 2015

Roy T. Fielding:

TLS does not provide privacy. What it does is disable anonymous access to ensure authority. It changes access patterns away from decentralized caching to more centralized authority control. That is the opposite of privacy. TLS is desirable for access to account-based services wherein anonymity is not a concern (and usually not even allowed). TLS is not desirable for access to public information, except in that it provides an ephemeral form of message integrity that is a weak replacement for content integrity.

[…] TLS everywhere is great for large companies with a financial stake in Internet centralization. It is even better for those providing identity services and TLS-outsourcing via CDNs. […]

If the IETF wants to improve privacy, it should work on protocols that provide anonymous access to signed artifacts (authentication of the content, not the connection) that is independent of the user’s access mechanism.

[Slightly reordered for the purposes of quoting.]