[tor-dev] Proposal idea: Stop assigning (and eventually supporting) the Named flag

Sebastian Hahn hahn.seb at web.de
Thu Apr 10 07:45:30 UTC 2014

Filename: xxx-kill-named-flag.txt                                                                 
Title: Stop assigning (and eventually supporting) the Named flag
Authors: Sebastian Hahnn
Created: 10 April 2014
Target: 0.2.5
Status: Draft

1. Intro and motivation

   Currently, Tor supports the concept of linking a Tor relay's nickname
   to its identity key. This happens automatically as a new relay joins
   the network with a unique nickname, and keeps it for a while. To
   indicate that a nickname is linked to the presented identity, the
   directory authorities vote on a Named flag for all relays where they
   have such a link. Not all directory authorities are currently doing
   this - in fact, there are only two, gabelmoo and tor26.

   For a long time, we've been telling everyone to not rely on relay
   nicknames, even if the Named flag is assigned. This has two reasons:
   First off, it adds another trust requirement on the directory
   authorities, and secondly naming may change over time as relays go
   offline for substantial amounts of time.

   Now that a significant portion of the network is required to rotate
   their identity keys, few relays will keep their Named flag. We should
   use this chance to stop assigning Named flags.

2. Design

   None. Tor clients already support consensuses without Named flags,
   and testing in private Tor networks has never revealed any issues in
   this regard.

3. Implementation

   The gabelmoo and tor26 directory authorities can simply remove the
   NamingAuthoritativeDirectory configuration option to stop giving out
   Named flags. This will mean the consensus won't include Named and
   Unnamed flags any longer. The code collecting naming statistics is
   independent of Tor, so it can run a while longer to ensure Naming can
   be switched on if unforeseen issues arise.

   Once this has been shown to not cause any issues, support for the
   Named flag can be removed from the Tor client implementation, and
   support for the NamingAuthoritativeDirectory can be removed from the
   Tor directory authority implementation.

4. Open questions


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