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

Christopher Maujean cmaujean at gmail.com
Wed Feb 8 02:46:17 PST 2012


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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