Matrix floating accounts

I can remember there was a concept of floating accounts on Matrix, similar to how groups are spread across servers. Accounts are currently tied to a server, but groups live until the last server participating in that group lives. If someone knows a link to a spec or something, I’ll be grateful. Will update this post once I find something.

poVoq
2
edit-2
2M

The Fediverse equivalent is typically called “nomadic identities” and that term has also been referenced by the Matrix developers. At least in Hubzilla (zot protocol) it works quite well.

Serge Tarkovski
creator
32M

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the “nomadic identities” thing is a bit less functional than To enable account portability by breaking the link between a user identity and a specific homeserver. In Hubzilla, from what I remember, it’s rather you have your main identity and its clones, and you must initiate cloning manually when needed. The above MSC, on contrary, means as soon as you own your User Permanent Key, you can act as your user, no matter on which server.

poVoq
32M

In Hubzilla you can backup your personal key and AFAIK use that to promote any instance to a primary one. But yes cloning is done manually, but I think that is a feature as IMHO you don’t really want your account to propagate through the entire network automatically.

Serge Tarkovski
creator
32M

Actually, this is kind of behind my vision of the decentralised future. Of course, I may be wrong, so let’s see how it evolves. The vision is that you, as a user, belong to a network of servers, which you must be able to browse and roam w/o significant effort (as soon as those servers are open to others), very much like public space in cities. Of course, there could be servers with restricted access, but the key idea of decentralisation is interconnectivity (apart from the primary idea of having more than one server).

poVoq
22M

That sounds more like the ideas behind OpenWebAuth (Hubzilla) or Webauthn.

But with all these theoretically nice ideas, it is often difficult to translate to actual technical implementations and that can have unintended negative side effects like shown in the case of the Matrix protocol design in general.

Serge Tarkovski
creator
12M

Interesting, what are the negative effects you mentioned?

poVoq
12M

Mainly automatic propagation of personal data which is a massive privacy issue.

Serge Tarkovski
creator
12M

Hmmm, what can they propagate apart from the info I shared myself with my homeserver (which is not mandatory anyway)?

poVoq
12M

This is a lengthy topic. But matrix shares permanent room state with any home-server connecting to a room. This room state is rich in personal meta-data.

Serge Tarkovski
creator
12M

If it happens even in encrypted rooms, maybe that’s a problem.

poVoq
2
edit-2
2M

Yes it is, as room-state is unencrypted.

Serge Tarkovski
creator
12M

Briefly, what’s sensitive in room state data? Who joined? Who replied to whom? Or maybe even “here’s the full list of emails and phone numbers of persons talking about a topic which is forbidden in a certain country”?

poVoq
3
edit-2
2M

It is a permanent record of who and when joined the room and interacted with whom. By and in itself it is less problematic, but it becomes problematic meta-data as it automatically propagates to any homeserver connecting to the room and that makes correlating it with other meta-data quite trivial.

Edit: it is also problematic because by design it can not be altered or partially discarded, meaning any homeserver gets the full record since the beginning of the room, not only starting from when it joined AFAIK.

@Echedenyan
12M

You got first of what I said right now jajajajaja.

@Echedenyan
12M

Sound like nomadic identities of Hubzilla.

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