RPKI and Trust Anchor question

Doug Barton dougb at dougbarton.us
Tue Aug 6 04:25:18 UTC 2013

On 08/05/2013 06:58 PM, John Curran wrote:
> On Aug 5, 2013, at 2:26 PM, Marcel Plug <marcelplug at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi Nanog,
>> Does anyone have any inside information what may be happening in the effort
>> to have a single trust anchor for RPKI?  Is ICANN still working on this?
>> If so is there any timeline or published info of any kind?
>> Most of the information i can find is about 2 years old.
>> Any links or info of any kind would be much appreciated.
> Hello Marcel -
>    The IAB and the five RIRs have both indicated that it is desirable
>    to have a single trust anchor for RPKI.  The IAB made a statement
>    in 2010 here <http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/ietf-announce/current/msg07028.html>
>    and in August 2011, the RIRs asked to meet with ICANN to work towards
>    "an ICANN-hosted global trust anchor for the RPKI system."
>    <http://www.nro.net/news/nro-communication-to-icann-on-rpki-global-trust-anchor>
>    ICANN has indicated that it is willing to host such a service, and has
>    included support for it within ICANN budget each year.
>    Since that time, there has been quite a bit of technical work going on
>    between the RIR's and ICANN's technical teams, including work to document
>    some of the technical issues that might result from having a global trust
>    anchor (if you are interested in those, you might want to follow the IETF
>    sidr working group.)  I would say that slow and steady progress is being
>    made towards the technical ability to have a single global trust anchor
>    (including understanding some of the more interesting things that happen
>    with key roll-overs, blocks transfers between RIRs, etc.); my present
>    estimate is that we'll have a solid understanding of technical steps and
>    consequences for deploying a RPKI global trust anchor by the end of 2013.
>    There is discussion of preparing a ICANN/RIR testbed at that time to
>    demonstrate technical compatibility and functionality of the RPKI system
>    while making use of a Global Trust Anchor.
>    In parallel, there is another set of issues being worked, and that is
>    engaging with the operator community in each region to understand their
>    desire for having a global trust anchor.  It has been noted that relying
>    on such a construct will effectively create a single point of "control"
>    for Internet operational routing (to the extent that folks everywhere
>    begin actively validating routes using RPKI.)  There is a single point
>    of failure argument against a global trust anchor, as well as creation
>    of a point of potential compromise, whether due to malfeasance or actual
>    governmental interference.  Note that these types of concerns are very
>    similar to those faced by DNSSEC, and in that case they were able to be
>    managed in an acceptable manner.  The discussion of the merit of a single
>    trust anchor is still ongoing among operators globally, and will need to
>    reach convergence in order to proceed (in addition to the technical issues
>    outlined above.)
>    So, Marcel, please allow me to turn the question around...  Do you
>    do you believe that there should be an RPKI Global Trust Anchor?
>    Are you concerned about the potential aggregation of control and
>    risk that may result? (Feel free to answer me privately if you
>    would prefer.)
>    At the point in time when we understand the technical architecture
>    being proposed and its implications, we will formally poll the ARIN
>    and NANOG community on the question of whether there is support for
>    having an RPKI Global Trust Anchor.  My best estimate is that this
>    will occur near the end of this year, but there's nothing wrong with
>    having some discussion in the meantime if the mailing list is otherwise
>    quiet.  :-)
> I hope this provides some insight - thank you for asking about it,
> as it has been too long since any status update on this project
> (I will work on that as well for the very near future.)
> Thanks!
> /John
> John Curran
> President and CEO


Thanks for the update! It's good to hear that progress is being made.

Is there a place where the challenges and solutions are being discussed 
publicly? It's interesting that you raise DNSSEC in comparison since the 
two technologies have many similarities. One of the things that made 
DNSSEC successful was the wide-ranging public discussion that not only 
led to concerns that would likely not have been uncovered otherwise, but 
also solutions to those and other problems.


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