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[gNewSense-users] [Fwd: [FSF] Send comments to the IETF opposing TLS-aut

From: Paul O'Malley - gnu's not unix -
Subject: [gNewSense-users] [Fwd: [FSF] Send comments to the IETF opposing TLS-authz standard by February 11, 2009]
Date: Sun, 08 Feb 2009 20:20:34 +0000
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090105)


Sorry for the offtopic, but we seem to have a bit of that these days.

I feel this is important enough to forward to this.

If you do mail the IETF please be very polite.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [FSF] Send comments to the IETF opposing TLS-authz standard by February 11, 2009
Date: Sun, 08 Feb 2009 10:05:27 -0500
From: Peter Brown <address@hidden>
To: address@hidden, address@hidden


Last January, the Free Software Foundation issued an alert to efforts at
the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to sneak a patent-encumbered
standard for "TLS authorization" through a back-door approval process
that was referenced as "experimental" or "informational".  The many
comments sent to IETF at that time alerted committee members to this
attempt and successfully prevented the standard gaining approval.

Unfortunately, attempts to push through this standard have been renewed
and become more of a threat.  The proposal now at the IETF has a changed
status from "experimental" to "proposed standard". The FSF is again
issuing an alert and request for comments to be sent urgently and prior
to the February 11 deadline to: address@hidden

Please include us in your message by a CC to address@hidden

That patent in question is claimed by RedPhone Security.  RedPhone has
given a license to anyone who implements the protocol, but they still
threaten to sue anyone that uses it.

If our voice is strong enough, the IETF will not approve this standard
on any level unless the patent threat is removed entirely with a
royalty-free license for all users.

Further background for your comment:

Much of the communication on the Internet happens between computers
according to standards that define common languages.  If we are going to
live in a free world using free software,  our software must be allowed
to speak these languages.

Unfortunately, discussions about possible new standards are tempting
opportunities for people who would prefer to profit by extending
proprietary control over our communities. If someone holds a software
patent on a technique that a programmer or user has to use in order to
make use of a standard, then no one is free without getting permission
from and paying the patent holder. If we are not careful, standards can
become major barriers to computer users having and exercising their freedom.

We depend on organizations like the Internet Engineering Task Force
(IETF) and the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) to evaluate
new proposals for standards and make sure that they are not encumbered
by patents or any other sort of restriction that would prevent free
software users and programmers from participating in the world they define.

In February 2006, a standard for "TLS authorization" was introduced in
the IETF for consideration. Very late in the discussion, a company
called RedPhone Security disclosed (this disclosure has subsequently
been unpublished from the IETF website) that they applied for a patent
which would need to be licensed to anyone wanting to practice the
standard. After this disclosure, the proposal was rejected.

Despite claims that RedPhone have offered a license for implementation
of this protocol, users of this protocol would still be threatened by
the patent. The IETF should continue to oppose this standard until
RedPhone provide a royalty-free license for all users.

Media Contacts

Peter T. Brown
Executive Director
Free Software Foundation

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