Shmoocon V: The Agreement

Zack Fasel and Matthew Jakubowski of MobileDisco out of Chicago presented an intriguing idea, that of The Agreement. The idea was to craft a binding agreement to allow mutual hacking but protect participants, in case of a disagreement over the fairness of a hack. To me it sounded sort of a legal commons for attacks and security in practice.

Most of the talk focused on examples of exchanges between participants. There was a fair dose of humor and a surprising amount of pwnage for security minded hackers. It did very clearly illustrate the spirt of The Agreement, one of playfulness not malice.

I do think that a commons is an unusual model. The Agreement provides the needed tools and targets for this sort of play, to improve the security knowledge and skills of all the members of the commons. However, at the same time this sort of mutual sharing is a bit at odds with the very nature of that play, which takes the form of attacks against the resources in the commons.

The project is very much evolving. So far they have addressed several problems since first coming up with the idea most notably dispute resolution. Binding arbitration is important to address complaints about fairness of hacks especially considering how the very rules are subject to change. Clear and consistent publication of those rules is also obviously a key development.

The creators of The Agreement actually are working with a lawyer to draft boiler plate and even mentioned running it by the EFF for review. If you are interested, you can join The Agreement too.

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