[Noisebridge-discuss] Access control & Safety, both personal and general space.

Davidfine d at vidfine.com
Wed Feb 8 16:58:26 UTC 2012

Hi Christopher,
I totally recognize your enthusiasm for this kind of problem solving. I
recognize in myself that same drive to solve problems with technology
or, as they say, "dude, put a cryptography on it". I don't want to quash
that enthusiasm in a new member, but I'm going to offer my perspective
on the door issue- which is a unique problem because the way we
implement it is a direct expression of who we are as a community.

There are some circumstances where your A->B->C model would work very
well, but I think Noisebridge needs something simpler. We want unknown
people to be able to access the space, and we want people who don't know
how to use cryptography to enter the space, and we want people who have
heard of Noisebridge but have no other point of contact to enter the
space. In addition to all that, the community is sort of nebulous and
difficult to organize around one standard way of doing anything.

The issue isn't really that bad people can gain entry. It's that we're
not good at kicking them out. Part of that is a side effect of
anarchistic philosophies, part is that people don't like confrontation.
But anarchists have to be good neighbors, and good neighbors sometimes
need to lay the smack down on bad neighbors. Or put another way, we as a
community need to enforce a code of conduct.

What I think we need to do is:
- Keep the gate shut. An open gate attracts people who just want an open
gate, indifferent to the community behind it.
- Pass out simple keys to dues paying members and other people who are
vetted through a voting process.
- Make sure people know about alternate ways of entry like gatebot
(which I hear is getting fixed)
- Make sure the door chime can be heard. Give people a hard time if they
buzz someone in without staying to greet them.
- Have an institutionalized way to identify and remove people who are
not playing nice with others. Present a unified front to make them leave.

I'm totally into cryptographic ID and web of trust stuff, and if you
want to work on that stuff with me let's get together. Leif is working
on a cryptographic voting system involving blind signing that would be
great to package for wider consumption. And man, we need a better way to
manage OTR and PGP keys...
Welcome to Noisebridge!

On 2/8/12 2:46 AM, Christopher Maujean wrote:
> Hello folks,
> Last night was my first time at Noisebridge and I'm glad I picked a
> meeting night. I had already done my homework and read the wiki.
> Having experienced the prepared rhetoric, and the direct, in person
> culture, I can say that I intend to come often from this point forward. 
> That said, I would like to volunteer to assist with the implementation
> of a key system similar to the one proposed by (I think?)Kelly. 
> The background as I see it:
> In order to maintain the open access that seems to me to be a core
> part of the Noisebridge culture, there needs to be a way to allow free
> admittance to all, while enabling the banning of the few bad apples.
> Paraphrasing Neal Stephenson perhaps, As hire As and Bs, and Bs hire
> Cs... If we map this to the Noisebridge culture: Excellent people
> bring both Excellent people, and Good people. Good people bring both
> Good people and possibly not so good people, the not so good people
> are likely to inundate the space with people who are, with out a
> doubt, absolutely not what Noisebridge is about. 
> It makes sense to optimize access control as a filtering system to
> distill the As and Bs, while keeping the Cs engaged, but not in
> charge, as the Cs do provide benefit by feeding the system via
> association to previously undiscovered or unaffiliated Bs and As. Of
> primary importance, is to float the As and Bs to the top, while
> keeping the Ds and friends out in the Mission. 
> The proposal (or Mapping swingers hot tub access to hackerspace):
> An application that can generate, validate and revoke access keys, has
> an appropriate web api and can open the gate, given an un-revoked key.
> "Can generate, validate and revoke access keys" is pretty much covered
> by a (probably trivial) integration of one or more of many
> implementations of open source public key systems. "Can open the gate"
> is something I would certainly like to learn and I'm certain multiple
> people in the space can implement while I ask stupid questions. "Has
> an appropriate web api" is something I can help with on multiple levels.
> The basic process as I think would be cool, is that members would be
> able to use the api to generate keys. Those keys could be given out
> and virally passed along to potentially like minded people to allow
> access to the space. In a nutshell an un-revoked key == access to the
> space.
> Members would have the privilege of revoking any public keys that were
> used in a particular time period, perhaps within a given hour. As a
> member, if your only key were revoked in this way, you would merely
> fire up your handy dandy key generation app, and make you a new one.
> Any non-member who was existing in the space only on keys that
> happened to be revoked, would have to contact members to get new keys.
> This could be done by pressing the button and mooning the camera,
> email, telephony, telepathy, whatever. 
> This system will allow As and Bs to hand keys out, with reasonable
> assurance that if a D or worse does get a key, it can be revoked, the
> name and picture posted, and the relevant A or B who made the original
> key notified that their key ended up in the hands of the C or D in
> question that turned out to be a "bad apple". Perhaps some timing can
> be implemented so that stale keys can't be written in chalk in Thieves
> Cant on the sidewalk and remain active for long. Social engineering
> can help with this, as a member who consistently has keys revoked can
> be spoken to, ostracized or whatever is necessary to solve the problem.  
> The painless, "happy path" transition to this system will probably
> require some period where keys are being made and revoked daily or
> even more often. I believe that this would settle down quickly into a
> more steady, flat pattern.
> Obviously, this is not a completely specced out idea, but I think it
> has potential.
> I propose the api be implemented in erlang, as this will allow me to
> learn the language, assuming I'm involved in the making. It could be
> built quite quickly in ruby, but I think erlang would be more fun.
> Is anyone interested in discussing this further?
> --Christopher
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