[vlc-devel] [PATCH 2/2] playlist/fetcher: do not ignore metadata scope when downloading art

Pierre Ynard linkfanel at yahoo.fr
Sun Dec 11 05:28:55 CET 2016

> I cannot see any other way to interpret the flag, and the intent has
> always been to block metadata lookup and access for the desribed set
> of entities (when the flag is enabled).

I disagree, the intent has been to prevent privacy leaks through
metadata lookup and access. Metadata lookup and access that don't
cause privacy leaks (e.g. getting the associated art from the same
video website that is already getting queried) are a grey area of
interpretation that you're now denying.

There's at least me considering the feature that way, I sure as hell
don't want my local media to start leaking queries to the internet,
but I do appreciate getting the associated art from youtube video or
soundcloud tracks I'm playing. If you can't see how I can think that,
then you might as well call me stupid.

Do I need to download art from within lua scripts and pass it as an
inline data URL to get my point across?

> The `m3u`-example is simply an example, the same would happen for
> entities that has a remote resource embedded directly within the
> media; the reason I choose `m3u` to demonstrate the issue is that it
> is easily edited, and easily reasoned about.

Granted, but that's also part of the grey area; although metadata URLs
embedded in video file containers would rather be on the side of what
you don't want to automatically lookup.

However this is starting to be a different issue from privacy and
querying metadata, it's an issue of blocking untrusted input and attack
vectors. And I don't think that this was the concern in mind when the
feature was designed, so one could say that you're diverting the real
purpose of a loosely related feature to fix a proof-of-concept exploit.
It also seems that the patch is wrongly coupling the file caching
technical optimization concern with the privacy concern.

file:// implies neither local, nor private, nor trusted. The attack
vector you highlighted is still exploitable after your patch, whether
--metadata-network-access is enabled or not.

Meta lua scripts have an explicit privacy scope, and their output can be
more or less trusted. The output of lua website demuxers can be trusted
and have no privacy impact. I'm not aware of any protection in other
demuxers from untrusted art URLs, nor from privacy leaks they might
incur. The playlist core correctly handles meta fetchers, but seems to
provide only a poor, coupled handling of the other technical, trust and
privacy concerns. I think this patch is a misaimed attempt at improving

Pierre Ynard
"Une âme dans un corps, c'est comme un dessin sur une feuille de papier."

More information about the vlc-devel mailing list