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RE: Non-Repudiation - A Lower Level?

From: Krishna Sankar <ksankar@cisco.com>
Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 18:09:50 -0700
To: <www-ws-arch@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c1ff9b$0f64e9d0$15d3fea9@amer.cisco.com>
    What you are articulating is auditing and I think it is in scope of
security. But auditing to support (legal) non-repudiation is not. Also
auditing for IDS purposes is also in scope of security.

-----Original Message-----
From: www-ws-arch-request@w3.org [mailto:www-ws-arch-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)
Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2002 8:54 AM
To: www-ws-arch@w3.org
Subject: Non-Repudiation - A Lower Level?

The last con call had some discussion of non-repudiation in which Joe
emphasized that non-repudiation is about convincing a third party that
something happened involving the two direct participants in a
transaction, and others talked about the legal aspects -- such as
problems guaranteeing legal validity over a seven year period in the
face of evolving technology.  And a rather complete discussion of
non-repudiation has been posted but for some reason I don't seem to be
able to find it at the moment.  (Sigh.)

I would like to suggest a different understanding of non-repudiation
that I think is useful in a lot of business cases.  In fact, beyond
"useful" to "crucial".  Perhaps it is confusing to call it the same
thing, but I don't know what else to name it. Quoting from the EDI-like
usage case I am drafting, 

	Non-Repudiation is of particular importance, although in
practical terms less in terms of a legal process than simply the ability
to say, "You got this invoice on March 24, and here is your signed
confirmation of receipt".  That is, by far the most common scenarios
that require non-repudiation involve people in both companies trying, in
good faith, to sort out what has gone wrong in some screwed up
transaction.  What is required in these cases is an unambiguous record,
not rock-solid legal proof.  Taking these issues to court is a very rare
occurrence given an ongoing trading relationship between businesses. 

I believe that it is fair to say that in practical, EDI-like
transactions this sort of "unambiguos record" doesn't just satisfy the
80-20 but more like the 99.9.  There is NO WAY that any technology or
standards are going to prevent screwups and confusion in business
transactions, which in practice happen all the time.  "You didn't pay
us."  "Yes we did."  Or "We ordered this but didn't receive it."  There
are a bazilion things that can go wrong which have nothing whatsoever to
do with the web services or business protocols, and have nothing to do
with anybody taking anything to court.

Now one might well say, "Well, if one satisfies the more rigorous,
legally motivated requirements of non-repudiation, one also satisfies
this lower level requirement".  That's OK, but what I am concerned about
is that the higher level of non-repudiation may be difficult to achieve.
I believe that there is a genuine and immediate need for the sort of
non-repudiation described above, and perhaps it could be useful to get
quickly to such an understanding.

Or am I perhaps talking about what some people are calling "auditing"?
I'm afraid I have not been entirely clear what people have meant by
that.  Am I really asking for clarification of terminology rather than a
different understanding of requirements?
Received on Sunday, 19 May 2002 21:10:45 UTC

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