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Monday, April 16 • 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Securing DNSSEC with Ritual and Ceremony (or for steampunks, How Neo-Victorians Keep Out Cads and Bounders)

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Which social factors are crucial for key signing ceremonies to build and maintain a chain of trust in the cryptographic operation and to establish credibility among the relying parties? Using Packet Clearing House’s DNSSEC key signing ceremonies as examples, this talk examines the process of selecting and vetting crypto officers and other individuals in trusted roles, the formal and informal hierarchies among the ceremony participants, and the formal separation of duties and privileges needed to secure the ceremony without entrusting too much control to any one actor. It then describes the functions of the informal networks and hierarchies among participants, how these facilitate coordination and social cohesion among the participants, and govern the distribution of trust and mutual control between human and nonhuman actors in the ceremony (HSM, code, etc.) Finally, the talk demonstrates how highly ritualized ceremony behavior, meticulously spelled out in a ceremony script, has less to do with achieving instrumental technical ends than with creating a context in which individual behavior transforms into social action, embodying trustworthiness of a cryptographic operation.

avatar for Smiljana Antonijevic

Smiljana Antonijevic

Research Anthropologist, PCH
Smiljana Antonijevic (PhD, Cultural Anthropology) explores the intersection of technology, culture, and communication through research and teaching in the U.S. and the EU. She is the author of three books and more than twenty journal articles. Smiljana currently works as a consultant... Read More →

Monday April 16, 2018 1:30pm - 2:00pm PDT
City View - Presidio