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RE: Manually Signed Digest as an XML signature type

From: <tgindin@us.ibm.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2000 17:40:11 -0400
To: Philip Hallam-Baker <pbaker@verisign.com>
cc: Barb Fox <bfox@Exchange.Microsoft.com>, "Joseph M. Reagle Jr." <reagle@w3.org>, w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org
Message-ID: <852568F9.00770A19.00@D51MTA04.pok.ibm.com>
     Electronic signatures are not restricted to biometrics.  In
particular, a sound recording of an individual speaking a simple form of
words including a recital of a specific document's digest would be
feasible, would be an electronic signature, and would be properly bound to
the document's digest in such a way as to constitute a signature of the
document.  Similar methods involving handwriting may also be feasible.  The
difficulty in these schemes is not that they are not valid signatures, but
that the last step in validating the signature is not cryptographic and may
not be readily automatable.
     My suggestion was not intended primarily for biometrics, as like many
others I have not yet been convinced of the usefulness of biometrics for
the execution of signatures as distinct from access control (including
access control for key storage).

          Tom Gindin

Philip Hallam-Baker <pbaker@verisign.com> on 06/09/2000 04:34:47 PM

To:   Tom Gindin/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Barb Fox <bfox@Exchange.Microsoft.com>
cc:   "Joseph M. Reagle Jr." <reagle@w3.org>, w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org
Subject:  RE: Manually Signed Digest as an XML signature type


     I would slightly modify Barb's statement but to my knowledge
the restatement would not have any effect whatsoever on any
Electronic Signature scheme I have seen to date.

     The problem I have with electronic signatures is that a
alone cannot provide a cryptographically strong (i.e. immune to attack)
binding of the signature to the specific document.

     I have seen many, many biometric schemes that claim to construct
such a binding but on examination every single one that I have seen to
date either relies for comms security on the cryptographic key alone or
subject to relatively unsophisticated attack once the algorithm is

     The only technique I have seen thus far that is promissing in
area is to use a biometric technique to gate access to the public key

     My very strong predjudice is that should sufficient motivation
exist that a proof may be constructed to this effect.

If we define

1) a cryptographic system to be one in which there is an
asymetry in the complexity of computing a function and its inverse.

2) a biometric system appropriately

My guess is that it is possible to construct a proof that any system
in which there is an asymetric work function associated with the
creation and verification of a signature validating the document
falls into this category.

     That is just my opinion, I could be wrong.


-----Original Message-----
From: tgindin@us.ibm.com [mailto:tgindin@us.ibm.com]
Sent: Monday, June 05, 2000 8:33 PM
To: Barb Fox
Cc: Joseph M. Reagle Jr.; w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Manually Signed Digest as an XML signature type

     Does your last statement mean that you believe that a separate
standard should later be produced for non-digital electronic signatures
XML documents, or that you believe that the existence of such signatures
should not be encouraged?  If a separate standard is produced, it should
borrow a very large fraction of the syntax from this standard.
     I would not object to wording like "no signature object is in
compliance with this version of the standard unless it contains a
SignatureValue which may be verified by purely cryptographic means", as
long as "this version" is present.

          Tom Gindin

"Barb Fox" <bfox@Exchange.Microsoft.com> on 06/05/2000 08:13:29 PM

To:   "Joseph M. Reagle Jr." <reagle@w3.org>
cc:   Tom Gindin/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, <w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org>
Subject:  RE: Manually Signed Digest as an XML signature type


Your definition of KeyInfo is information related to the generation of
Mine is that KeyInfo is information required by the verifier of a
signature.  There are several forms, like KeyName, that illustrate that
it's not intended to be used in the generation of a signature.

Also, in your choice between:

"A. Non cryptographic electronic signatures should place their
information in SignatureProperties, or
B. Non cryptographic electronic signatures can not use XML Signature
what-so-ever. (Specifying this would be difficult as we would then have
enumerate all the algorithms that may be used, or all those that may
and it's difficult to enforce.)"

I believe we should clearly state that compliance with this standard
requires that a cryptographic signature MUST be generated (or verified.)
the producer of a cryptographically signed XML document wishes to add an
electronic signature, it should be included as a SignatureProperty.

Received on Friday, 9 June 2000 17:40:31 UTC

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