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Re: WebID questions -- was: [dane] Call for Adoption: "Using Secure DNS to Associate Certificates with Domain Names For S/MIME"

From: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2012 10:31:16 +0200
Cc: public-webid@w3.org, Andrei Sambra <andrei@fcns.eu>
Message-Id: <4CF96AC0-49E2-47B7-9A2C-5557CA4CBD71@bblfish.net>
To: Ben Laurie <benl@google.com>

On 27 Sep 2012, at 09:57, Ben Laurie <benl@google.com> wrote:

> On 26 September 2012 13:50, Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net> wrote:
>> On 26 Sep 2012, at 13:59, Ben Laurie <benl@google.com> wrote:
>>> The easy interface works well only if you are happy with a small
>>> number of identities - i.e. linkability across almost everything.
>>> Also, note that this kind of thing was tried with Microsoft's
>>> InfoCards and also with OpenID. It didn't go so well.
>> Microsoft's info cards was a centralised solution I believe. Here we are using only open web standards: HTTP, TLS, RDF, Linked Data. Which allows everybody - individuals as well as large institutions to participate. We are not excluding anyone here.
> No, infocards were decentralised.

And they permitted a distributed web of trust? I really doubt they had the tools to work with that, in part because it requires open standards such as those behind LinkedData (HTTP+RDF) for it to make sense.

> But that's really not the point -
> the point was that they involved similar choices amongst a large
> number of possibilities, and it turned out to be hard to use.

it cannot have been a similar choice among these number of possibilities. They did not have LinkedData ( that meme only really appeared in 2006 or so, and has been growing slowly and steadily since then . see for example Tim's 2009 Ted Talk http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_berners_lee_on_the_next_web.html )

Think about this: if you are from Google - a company whose life is based on the Web, was built on the web, and whose core algorithm is based on the linking of pages - but who still is largely new to LinkedData, you can imagine that Microsoft, a much older company with a lot more legacy, is going to be much slower in embracing such a change ( though huge leaps have been known to happen ) Also remember they were taking in by the SOAP bubble.

> OpenID has a similar problem (its what they call the Nascar problem).

We can get rid of the Nascar problem easily. I think someone may already have implemented an initial example of that using WebID... You just write a server that does the following when someone clicks the 1 and only login link on the page.
The server requests the client certificate  ( asynchronously is best as in here  https://github.com/bblfish/Play20 )

 IF the user selects a certificate and returns it 
    The server on receiving the certificate. Either
      a. the certificate is CA signed and trusted. Follow usual procedure. 
         (though if there is a WebID, you can get extra information that would 
           otherwise be difficult to put in a cert)
      b. the certificate does not have a CA known to the server and no WebID
         use the public key as a temporary identifier, but suggest linking that public key to a number of other
         identification schemes - you're in NASCAR land - but also suggest to the user to get a WebID
      c. the certificate does not have a CA known to the server and a WebID 
        do WebID identification. 
       do the usual Nascar stuff

In a, b above you have a WebID so you can replace the Nascar box by a linking verification process, and you can reduce the immediately visible options by using the information from the WebID profile using the foaf:holdsAccount relations found in the foaf file: e.g.: no need to suggest Facebook login - as a first option - if the user does not in his profile declare having an account there.

The above is a back of the envelope sketch of how to do things. Of course with a team of good designers you'd develop that carefully and do usability tests. 


Social Web Architect
Received on Thursday, 27 September 2012 08:32:05 UTC

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