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Nōtifs Frequently Asked Questions

Where did the name “Nōtifs” come from?

Nōtifs is a shorthand for notifications in the same sense that “apps” is short for applications. The dash over the o is to emphasize that it’s a long O; otherwise people would tend to pronounce it as “not-ifs” which would be confusing. By the way, a short “i” is preferred, but some people pronounce it as “note-eefs” which is OK too.

Is end-to-end encryption available?

There have been a few requests for end-to-end encryption of Nōtifs out of concerns about Government monitoring of users’ notification agents. Agents currently have access to Notifs in the clear (they are transmitted “over the wire” with TLS, which is encrypted). This introduces a significant key management problem, because each notifier should have its own public key to encrypt a user’s nōtifs with in order to avoid having notifiers ability to use the public keys to correlate a user’s activities. This could be done using derived keys and elliptic-curve cryptography, but has not yet been designed.

Isn’t there a “chicken-and-egg” problem between getting users and notifiers to sign up for Nōtifs?

Yes, there is. The plan to address this is to provide “connectors” that generate nōtifs from legacy forms of notification, such as email. Once sufficient users have accounts with notification agents, there will be more motivation for notifiers to offer Nōtifs alongside other forms of notification like email and text message.

Where can I get the protocol specification?

There isn’t one, yet. But I’ll write one when requested.

Updated 7 August 2019

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