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Suggestions on high-level API - perhaps a meeting next week?

From: GALINDO Virginie <Virginie.GALINDO@gemalto.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2012 15:46:32 +0200
To: Ryan Sleevi <sleevi@google.com>, Harry Halpin <hhalpin@w3.org>, Emily Stark <estark@MIT.EDU>, Wan-Teh Chang <wtc@google.com>, David Dahl <ddahl@mozilla.com>
CC: "public-webcrypto@w3.org" <public-webcrypto@w3.org>
Message-ID: <076ED1F6CB375B4BB5CAE7873691360703B520322956@CROEXCFWP04.gemalto.com>
Harry, and all,

Good to know that this high level API is not a lost topic. Nevertheless, the WG participants made a decision to treat later the high level API. As such, I think that before re-opening this item - which may be tricky as mentioned Ryan - we should try to finalize what we have started, meaning a stable low level API. Having said that, I see no problem for having a call dedicated to discussing qualities of the high level APIs you have mentioned, in order to build our common background. Lets scheduled this topic for one of our Monday conf call after our next F2F meeting somewhere mid-Nov. 

David, Emily, Ryan, Wan-Teh,
would this timing be suitable for you ?


-----Original Message-----
From: Ryan Sleevi [mailto:sleevi@google.com] 
Sent: lundi 24 septembre 2012 22:51
To: Harry Halpin
Cc: public-webcrypto@w3.org
Subject: Re: Suggestions on high-level API - perhaps a meeting next week?

On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM, Harry Halpin <hhalpin@w3.org> wrote:
> Looking at various discussions about the Web Crypto API, it seems that 
> most of the concern is the "footgun" problem, i.e. we are giving 
> developers a gun to shot themselves in the foot. Most of the concern 
> seems to be over the JS environment as a whole, but there is 
> considerable concern over the larger issues related to the Web 
> Security Model (i.e. CSP.). I'll draft some text on how the Web Crypto API only solves a limited part of the problem (i.e.
> primitives for re-implementing existing work, random number 
> generation, key storage). However, it would behoof us by our next WD 
> release to actually
> *address* these concerns. The primary concern seems to be having a 
> high-level APIs (which would require pushing on the discovery algorithm).
> Thus, my suggestion is that we start at least collecting examples of 
> good high-level APIs and comparing their functions, and see if we can 
> get a clear consensus. These three come up off top of my head:
> 1) DOMCrypt - This is David Dahl, who is one of co-editors and a 
> member of our WG.
> 2) Stanford Crypto API - Dan Boneh, Mike Hamburg, and Emily Stark (who 
> is on our WG)
> 3) KeyCzar - this is Steve Weis/Ben Laurie from Google. Shall we ping them?
> @Rsleevi and @wtc?
> We could get a call devoted to this topic, and maybe invite some of 
> the folks that aren't in our WG. I'd be happy to go for this next week 
> unless we want to prioritze other issues!
>    cheers,
>      harry
> [1] https://wiki.mozilla.org/Privacy/Features/DOMCryptAPISpec/Latest
> [2] http://crypto.stanford.edu/sjcl/
> [3] http://www.keyczar.org/

There is also NaCl (pronounced "salt") - http://nacl.cr.yp.to/ - Which is Daniel J. Bernstein (djb), Tanja Lange, and Peter Schwabe.

However, the issue with SJCL, Keyczar, and NaCl is that they define both APIs *and* message formats. That is, a message protected under SJCL is not, AFAICT, exchangeable with a message protected under keyczar.

As we discussed on our telecon today, and as raised by Mike Jones, it seems equally appropriate that we point to and encourage the IETF JOSE work, which is (presently) focused solely on a message format and not on an API.

The issue with the "high-level API" is two-fold. The only way to replace the footgun is to do the crypto for them, and if you're going to do the crypto for them, it needs to be interoperable between user agents. I think JOSE's message format does this much better, in terms of public engagement and in addressing the cryptographic concerns, that it may be suitable to instead look at the high level API as perhaps simply an API for JOSE.
Received on Thursday, 27 September 2012 13:47:08 UTC

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