W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credentials@w3.org > April 2016

Re: Update on Web Payments Working Group [The Web Browser API Incubation Anti-Pattern]

From: Timothy Holborn <timothy.holborn@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 06 Apr 2016 05:58:15 +0000
Message-ID: <CAM1Sok1iSF4pBJb4H_g5ddnm=H1s6zgqkaMHg524m8xEqegH7g@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-webpayments@w3.org, Credentials CG <public-credentials@w3.org>, public-rww <public-rww@w3.org>
I wasn't sure where to post on the thread, and started to author a
long-email which I've scrapped given the convo and contributions
particularly from Melvin / Manu in addition to others ;)

Links for the RWW crew:

Put simply.

For about 16 years I've been working on decentralising apps from the data;
much like the way the world worked when we used floppy disks.

This plan has not fundamentally changed.  Starting such a long-time ago,
with a vision based on a the work of an apparent distant relative who won a
Nobel Prize for Synaptic Nerve Cells - I saw the web the same way and have
been tirelessly working towards an outcome that overtime, I've found to be
shared with others in ways that i've found truly humbling.  yet after
getting over that, I've found the practical minutiae of contributing less
humbling and far more forthright.

As agents for a browser company it is their responsibility to put up a good
fight as they're employed to do.  I think they're organisational views are
short-sighted, but then, why bother helping an antiquated myopically
focused organisation regardless of whether the 'i told you so' moment comes
in future, it's still not a nice thing to say. The timeline of the Human
Species vs. that of societal growth since the advent of electricity and
electrical devices, anti-biotics and an array of other facets about
evolution far out weigh the timeline of the web and the demise of various
significant agents over that period, where my mind leads to groups such as
myspace, altavista, sega, amiga and an array of other players who well...
It's not the first time nor the last time a giant will become a pipsqueak -
but perhaps we'll find means to attach the decisions to the agents making
them, so that the opportunity of going from the biggest paying job in the
largest company - to the biggest paying job in the new largest company -
continually practising the same methodologies that whilst protected
organisationally; are well...  less than ideal.  the point here is that
these agents did their job and that others who should have done more, could
have boycotted the session, could have broken the rules to test what they
believed to be right - upon public opinion - well...  Browser companies
won, and i can see the difficulties that i believe will persist in ways
that will become increasingly difficult given the game is fixed, and the
ONLY way to solve that is through dramatic action.

Yet amongst the greatest challenges is the view that many of the secondary
stakeholders / decision makers who are not technically minded, who do not
follow the work; but rather, require a brief that is no longer than a
paragraph about the choice they're being asked to make - well.   The
situation is far too complex, imho, to explain in a paragraph.  Even most
of the videos available from those who invented the foundation of WWW - are
generally about an hour long.  People don't want to commit their time to
understanding things that are more than a paragraph, so, that's a

I am reminded of a session I recorded where a leading engineer spoke about
natural climate change:

He died in the following months. called a 'climate change denier' by
marketing people.

What we're building here is a global knowledge framework and this framework
is going to be developed with embedded ideological qualities.  Some believe
those qualities could or should be governed globally by a corporation, who
by way of corporate law - is constructed within a particular jurisdiction,
binding others to these embedded ideological qualities by way of contract

What these systems will do is perceive, record and communicate knowledge
with bonded inherent ideological decisions embedded into presentation
layers and as the known world functions on a socio-economic platform - the
nature of this work is particularly important with respect to the means and
ramification of decisions made, in an environment which is not provided
economic equality between the parties discussing their various ideological
views and indeed; it's impacts on humanity into the future.

An agent of a corporation is required to seek the best interests of that
corporation; and in Australia, our corporations law - does not have any
provisions for behaviours that contravene human rights law / doctrine or
other broader considerations - the simple fact is that an agent should do
everything in their power to support the development of shareholder value
(profits) and that risk-management techniques may be employed as to make
evaluated choices about what that corporation may be held accountable to in
a court, and what the implications are on a strategic basis in how they
in-turn choose to act, via their agents.

I can rant about this, but i see little point in doing so to the educated.
What I plan to do, what i've always been dedicated to doing; is building a
system where humans own their data via a marketplace of providers as to
ensure that if a provider doesn't like the way one party does it - they can
move their life somewhere else.  It's a bit like digital refugee asylum
seeking rights; and a variety of opinions are held globally about these
sorts of 'human rights' things - i think the USA is either the only or
perhaps one of the very few countries who have not signed the UN Convention
of the Rights of the Child convention - that's ok - I'm Australian, we have
different issues even though we have agreed to it - but i wouldn't want to
sign a contract making the agreements made by my Australia system of
democracy / government - invalid. I don't care if they tell me 'it's a free
service', i cannot in good conscience advice others that 'they don't need
to worry about it' or that they be classified a fool for doing so.


Whilst Blockchain technology is a demonstrated symptom of these
extraordinary needs and demand characteristics. I do fear the end-result of
blockchain tech does not relate to a fully decentralised control platform
but rather datacentres operated by specialist targets/firms, who
cryptographically control via silicon - trust and social rules.  I'm not
saying this is necessarily the outcome, however I do fear it.

I have been dismayed by the split between the Creds/payments works and that
of RWW/WebID-TLS  works. I also both understand the financial implications
experienced by those moreover focused on RWW stuff and feel that whilst it
could be solved with an organised, decentralised, cooperative method that
is part of what has been developed over the years - we're yet to do so, and
every participant has the right to prioritise the means in which they feed
their kids over their frustrations with the options.

Some time ago i put together http://webcivics.org/dev/ which was part of
something i first saw when working on a project called BitMark.  Earlier, I
mocked-up http://mediaprophet.org/ux_KB/ which has an array of design
considerations demonstrated; many of which are still relevant.

I will be building something that brings what is kinda SoLiD (but moreover
LDP) to be compatible with Creds (and i think WebDHT which seems to extend
the work done by oshani on HTTPa); and i don't really care if it's part of
the standardisation effort or not.

I care more about humans than the bs. between beautifully talented, amazing
individuals; who end-up becoming cannon-fodder for agents of the worlds
leading companies,

Which I feel threatened by; because I do not want to be a member to a
decision making process that results in any form of knowledge related
currency being governed globally by a few vendors controlled by one state
on a world-wide basis. That is not what i've spent so many years trying to
contribute towards.  It is not going to mend the issues i've experienced in
life leading to my dedication to these tasks and frankly; I am not helping
to unstitch the premise of human rights and related documents such as the
magna carta - because we're no longer using paper to organise the means in
which humans exist; and the means in which humans may make decisions about
the world around them and the issues they care about.  In effect - i
believe in science, and science needs data; and so, whilst the fears are
very complex and significant in nature across almost every area, from human
rights to STEM...

W3C has a role which it is playing.  It can develop that role, it can
stagnate and become less useful for modern issues whilst maintaining
guardianship over the foundational aspects in which we build linked-data
related means for our future world with agents, shared-consciousness and
individual (human) rights.

The politics of these things are beyond the scope of my participation here;
moreover, that's a challenge for political leadership of nations to address
globally with the very difficult task of understanding the science
effectively in-line with the influences of corporate behaviours as is
legislated to be 'legal' on local and intercontinental basis.  So i'm going
to leave that bit alone.

Regardless; houses nowadays increasingly have fibre connections and much of
the sensitive personal data are not big binary files.  I remember BBS's.  I
remember the friends who set-up ISP's in their mothers loungerooms, being
told to move out after the telco hauled the grass to install a hundred

So long as an actor behaves in accordance with law; not much companies can
do about rejecting the old.  They may try to keep ISDN going for as long as
possible, but that's not how the future turned out.

So, it is our responsibility to make the difference.  It is not their
responsibility, it is ours.  Gov. may have opinions about who to help, but
if they find a better option - they're not going to be tied to a company
whilst attempting to present a case that they represent 'the people'.  And
the way that happens today, is that people live in countries where laws are
made for people who live in those countries.

It's just that almost universally, people don't own their data, they don't
control their data and their not participating in the value created in
association to their contributions of data.

So one way or another - solution needs to be built and deployed and that's
the end of the story.

If people are interested in building a list of things 'to do' and perhaps
forming a new CG that is outside of the current focal area of control /
development (ie; Creds CG --> Payments IG / WG / VOID - not a member - no
say - ???)  then perhaps that is an option.   yet equally, i'm not sure.
Much of the disagreements that have led to a failure to produce something
being taken-up by the market is about identity related stuff; (ie;
WebID-TLS vs. Creds) and serialisation (ie: json-ld vs. ttl) when much like
the javascript issues - serialisation should be exchangeable (we can
translate languages and the means in which to interpret one form of media
to another (ie: person in image to name or song in video to name of song) -
why not structured data formats..)

Finally; It is my strong view that WebID-TLS identifies a Machine Account,
not a person.  My inspiration and time spent in dedicating work to Creds;
has always been due to the view that identity is a very complex notion THAT
HAS NEVER BEEN SUCCESSFULLY notated; this is a humanitarian and scientific
endeavour that extends to ramifications for all forms of life.

IMHO; the creds scope of work may end-up providing a virtually augmented
'thing' that exists in the ether that may be addressed and protected via
various means in-order to notate human actors in a manner that means if
someone buys a phone - they're not buying existence or servitude, their
buying a product, a phone.  If someone gets a job - it's something they do,
it's not who they are.

So; to finish my rant - which i've tried alot not to do - We need a
decentralised alternative and that's what i'm going to do one way or
another. i know others are working on similar things, and whilst i don't
care who does it - I care mostly about the functional outcomes - It just
needs to be done and that's why i'm here.

Received on Wednesday, 6 April 2016 05:58:55 UTC

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