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Re: Negative VCs

From: Adam Lake <alake@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:30:34 -0400
To: public-credentials@w3.org
Message-ID: <49d02880-88b8-4fec-cc1f-be2ab43f7f2a@digitalbazaar.com>

On 6/26/2017 7:59 PM, Melvin Carvalho wrote:
> On 24 June 2017 at 00:38, David Chadwick <D.W.Chadwick@kent.ac.uk 
> <mailto:D.W.Chadwick@kent.ac.uk>> wrote:
>     I think that most of us have been assuming that VCs are always
>     positive
>     and confer some benefit on the subject. Common examples used by us
>     have
>     been passport, credit card, club membership etc.
>     But what about negative VCs, such as a criminal record, 'points'
>     on your
>     driving licence, or failure to pay a bill on time etc. Subjects are
>     going to be reluctant to present these to verifiers, especially if
>     this
>     would remove any benefit that they were hoping to obtain from the
>     verifier's online service. In this case the VCs might be presented by
>     someone other than the subject of the VC, and by someone not
>     wishing to
>     represent the subject of the VC.
>     For this reason I would support the following alternative wording
>     in the
>     Terminology Playground
>     ROLE_B is typically the Subject of Claims. In some circumstances,
>     where
>     the ROLE_B is not the Subject of the Claim, then ROLE_B must be
>     able to
>     prove that they are 'authorised to provide the claim'. This is a
>     preferrable alternative to 'has the authority to represent the Subject
>     of the Claims', as it covers the latter case as well as a third party
>     providing negative VCs to a verifier.
> I think you've hit upon an incredibly interesting use case.
> One issue with centralized claims is that claims of a negative nature 
> can be a point of failure when, say, the domain owner comes into 
> conflict with the person who the claims about.
> For this reason businesses normally do not allow negative claims to be 
> made to reduce that point of failure.
> However, there's another mode of the web where the claim can be 
> independent of any central website or URL, just as, when the contents 
> of a file is independent of that file itself.
> I think it's a really important use case and I have in our community 
> heard many calls for such a system to emerge, but yet, we have not to 
> date been able to solve such a use case effectively, at least in web 
> 1.0 and web 2.0 type offerings.
> I'm optimistic that web technologies can deliver claims of any kind 
> which become the ownership of the author, rather than, the publisher.
> I honestly think the web is screaming out for this as one of the most 
> important use cases yet to be addressed.
> In our reputation community we have explored this quite a bit, and the 
> issue becomes one of sock puppets flooding the eco system with 
> negative claims ... the question remains as to how to analyses a web 
> of claims and get the signal from the noise.  From experience, what 
> seems to be the case is that most actors are genuine, but a few try to 
> game the system.  It seems something of an arms race.  I really look 
> forward to innovation in this space, and one someone gets the ball 
> rolling I think decentralized claims of this kind could be popular in 
> a very viral way ...
It seems to me that claims are verifiable free speech. We all have the 
freedom to say anything about anyone else, short of defamation. How we 
get the signal from the noise is each person defining their own web of 
trusted issuers through which level of trust per claim can be derived. 
Can't a flood of negative claims be disregarded as noise?

>     regards
>     David

Adam Lake
Business Development Lead
Digital Bazaar
Received on Tuesday, 27 June 2017 15:31:09 UTC

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