W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credentials@w3.org > March 2015

Re: Leveraging DNS and email addresses

From: Erik Ros <mail@erikros.me>
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:57:46 +0000
Message-ID: <5512CCEA.9@erikros.me>
To: public-credentials@w3.org
Hi everyone,

we seem to now be discussing: what will be the structure of the 
identifier we will use to identify ourselfes. I like the idea of using 
the email address.

The format of email address could get a new meaning:
[entity-or-agent]@[organisational reference] This would also allow other 
protocols to use the same structure. I for one would be really happy if 
I would be able to reach all my friends with instant message, just by 
knowing their email address, and not having to figure out on what social 
network they are on.
Then the step of authenticating would first require the identification 
of the organisation and then the user. This way the heavy lifting can be 
done behind the scenes.

I think the standard should support a number of identification methods. 
The number of methods used to identification for any given access should 
depend on the level of security that is required, the records of my 
weight are in the end more precious then the access to my bank account.

Perhaps some organisations would like to identifying people by taking a 
picture of your face, and compare it to a picture of your face stored at 
a given location.

with kind regards,


On 25-03-15 14:28, Adrian Hope-Bailie wrote:
> Hi Glen,
> I prefer the use of DNS for service discovery over something like 
> WebFinger but it presents a problem for Web clients that don't have 
> access to such low levels in the stack.
> We need to consider this in whatever is proposed.
> Adrian
> On 23 March 2015 at 16:53, Wiley, Glen <gwiley@verisign.com 
> <mailto:gwiley@verisign.com>> wrote:
>     Melvin,
>     Some of your points are correct, email addresses are pretty over
>     loaded however is this really an either-or discussion?  Does
>     offering email addresses as a locator prevent discussion of other
>     mechanisms? It isn’t clear to me how it stalls other work?
>     One way to avoid an endless debate is to embrace cooperative
>     approaches rather than insisting on a single approach.
>     One of the ways I have proposed we leverage payment information
>     associations this way is to offer a secured referral to a URI –
>     you can locate the association in the DNS using an email address
>     which then takes you to a resource record that offers a URI.  This
>     can be accomplished by leveraging the chain of trust within the
>     DNS and by leveraging cryptographic assets to make the handoff to
>     the URI (e.g. A certificate or public key).
>     -- 
>     Glen Wiley
>     Principal Engineer
>     Verisign, Inc.
>     (571) 230-7917 <tel:%28571%29%20230-7917>
>     A5E5 E373 3C75 5B3E 2E24
>     6A0F DC65 2354 9946 C63A
>     From: Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com
>     <mailto:melvincarvalho@gmail.com>>
>     Date: Monday, March 23, 2015 at 10:36 AM
>     To: Adrian Hope-Bailie <adrian@hopebailie.com
>     <mailto:adrian@hopebailie.com>>
>     Cc: W3C Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org
>     <mailto:public-credentials@w3.org>>
>     Subject: Re: Leveraging DNS and email addresses
>     Resent-From: <public-credentials@w3.org
>     <mailto:public-credentials@w3.org>>
>     Resent-Date: Monday, March 23, 2015 at 10:37 AM
>     On 16 March 2015 at 09:02, Adrian Hope-Bailie
>     <adrian@hopebailie.com <mailto:adrian@hopebailie.com>> wrote:
>         I have been thinking lately about the challenge of keying an
>         identity in a way that:
>           * Is easy to transfer and remember (even for humans)
>           * Can be normalised in a standard way and used as part of a
>             standardised discovery process by a client to discover the
>             Identity Provider (IdP) for that identity
>             /*ASIDE:* It's worth mentioning that while we strive for a
>             fully decentralised identity system this will likely be a
>             federated set of IdPs and for a client to traverse this
>             web they need a starting point or primary IdP for an
>             identity. When I talk about the IdP for an identity I am
>             not implying there will be only 1 but that that the
>             key/label for the identity should allow a client to
>             resolve/discover this primary IdP and then from there
>             discover further identity claims as required./
>         To my mind the obvious solution is to use the email address
>         format as this is already a well-known standard which user's
>         understand.
>         It seems to me that the only argument against an email address
>         format is that the domain part is often not under the control
>         of the identity owner. I don't see that is a good enough
>         reason to force users to try and change their thinking and use
>         URIs as their identifiers.
>         I don't have statistics to back this up (perhaps somebody
>         does) but I consider the relative obscurity of OpenID as a
>         login option as evidence that this is a bad idea.
>         So how do we help the user that has an email address
>         @gmail.com <http://gmail.com> or @hotmail.com
>         <http://hotmail.com> or @yahoo.com <http://yahoo.com> but
>         wishes to host their identity themselves or at a different IdP?
>         First, we define a mechanism or standard algorithm/protocol
>         for translating their email address into a service discovery
>         process that may start with their home domain but ultimately
>         result in the client accessing the identity somewhere else.
>         Then we pressure the large email providers to abide by this
>         standard. I acknowledge that this may be difficult but I would
>         say it is not impossible.
>         I imagine the user experience being something like the following:
>          1. I log in to my account with this email provider, go to my
>             account settings and prpvode the URL of my IdP.
>          2. When I use my identity online the client executes the
>             service discovery protocol as defined, contacts my email
>             provider and is given the URL I have configured as part of
>             this process.
>          3. The client negotiates with my IdP of choice to get my
>             identity information.
>         If we have designed the protocol correctly (very close to what
>         is already in place today) my email provider only knows who my
>         IdP is but nothing more about the identity I have defined
>         their unless I choose to share it.
>         Where a user has a primary email address with a provider who
>         is not following the standard the user has two choices:
>          1. Change email providers
>          2. Use an identity that is different from their primary email
>             address.
>         Option 2 can be easily facilitated by any IdP who wishes to
>         play in this space. In conjunction with offering an IdP
>         service they could also allow their identity key (email
>         address) to be used as an email address by the subscriber but
>         simply forward all emails to that address on to the primary
>         email address of the subscriber.
>         I think the Discovery protocol of OpenID Connect
>         (http://openid.net/specs/openid-connect-discovery-1_0.html) is
>         a good reference of how an email address could be used to
>         discover the user's IdP however I'd be more in favour of
>         leveraging the DNS service discovery protocol (RFC 6763 -
>         http://www.dns-sd.org/).
>         Is there a compelling case for using a URI as an identity key
>         as opposed to the familar form of an email address?
>     Let's not go down this path in discussion.  Email is confusing
>     because it's overloaded to do different things:
>     1. A memorable identifier
>     2. A global primary key
>     3. A message delivery service
>     This stalls meaningful discussion in the standards world, and we
>     end up with failed projects such as persona.
>     Just using web axioms an email address as an identifier (2) is
>     already a URI by prefixing mailto: (something that most
>     centralized and many 'decentralized' systems forget to do)
>     In the linked data world we prefer http uris.
>     This is an endless perma debate that gets in the way of
>     standards.  Let's not go there!
>         Adrian

--  Erik Ros           --
--  +447979090626      --
--  mail@erikros.me    --
--  http://erikros.me  --
--  @erikros_me        --
--  +ErikRos_ejfrme    --
Received on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 14:59:11 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Thursday, 24 March 2022 20:24:39 UTC