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Verifiable Claims Telecon Minutes for 2016-01-29-1

From: <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 2016 15:54:05 -0500
Message-Id: <1454100845375.0.13307@zoe>
To: Web Payments IG <public-webpayments-ig@w3.org>, Credentials CG <public-credentials@w3.org>
Thanks to Dave Longley for scribing this week! The minutes
for this week's Verifiable Claims telecon are now available:


Full text of the discussion follows for W3C archival purposes.
Audio from the meeting is available as well (link provided below).

Verifiable Claims Telecon Minutes for NaN-NaN-NaN

  1. Problem Statement
  2. User-centric Design vs Privacy-centric Design
  3. OpenID Connect, SAML, and OAuth
  4. Useful Technology Pieces
  5. The Work on OpenID
  6. The Best Mode for a Solution
  Manu Sporny
  Dave Longley
  Dave Longley, Manu Sporny, Dick Hardt, David I. Lehn

Dave Longley is scribing.
Manu Sporny:  The call is minuted and recorded, let us know if 
  you have a problem with that.
Dick Hardt:  Ok.
Manu Sporny:  Thank you for being here today, we know you're 
  incredibly busy so we appreciate the time to get your thoughts on 
  this area.
Manu Sporny:  The assumption here is that you're speaking as an 
  individual, not representing Amazon.
Dick Hardt:  I'm speaking as an individual and none of my 
  contributions (I don't think I'll make up anything with IP in 
  it), my Amazon counsel as said none of this would fall under W3C 
  contribution policies.
Manu Sporny:  Got it and they don't.
Manu Sporny:  Just a quick intro for those that don't know Dick 
  Hardt - he has been involved in the identity space for over a 
  decade and was involved in the creation of OpenID and OAuth among 
  many other identity-related initiatives. His Wikipedia page is 
  here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Hardt
Manu Sporny:  We've chatted with you twice before to give you an 
  overview about what this work is about and we've talked to you a 
  bit about the Credential CG work to help you understand the type 
  of work we've been doing. The main reason we reached out to you 
  is to make sure we do our due diligence before starting work at 
  W3C, if we do in fact start it. We want to hear you thoughts on 
  all this, concerns, pitfalls, areas of work that important, 
  things to avoid, in general a brain dump from you because you've 
  been so involved in this space for the past decade+. We've got a 
  problem statement and user centric vs. service centric -- and 
  things we can talk about but it's really up to you, we don't have 
  to stick to the proposed agenda.
Manu Sporny:  Any thoughts on the agenda before we get started, 
  did you want to focus on anything else?

Topic: Problem Statement

Dick Hardt:  Sounds good, we can figure it out as we go and start 
  with the agenda.
Manu Sporny: http://w3c.github.io/vctf/#problem
Manu Sporny:  What we're really trying to do is get the problem 
  statement right because we want to scope this work down. We don't 
  want to try and "solve identity for the Web", it's a really 
  sticky area and we don't want to fall into that trap.
Dick Hardt:  So why not?
Manu Sporny:  Because we think that it's been attempted many 
  times. We're trying to take a layered approach to get there and 
  scope down narrowly into a bite-sized chunk because we don't 
  think W3C membership or other bodies have an appetite for 
  something larger.
Dick Hardt:  As soon as you start diving into any aspect of it 
  you have to think about how it will scale to solve identity on 
  the Web, it's difficult to have a big bang approach and poof it 
  solves everything about identity, but it's important to have a 
  vision for what identity looks like in the future a mountain 
  you're going to and then you say here's the first problem you're 
  going to solve.
Manu Sporny:  Got it, that's the general approach we want to 
  take. We want to take a layered approach, we believe this is the 
  bottom layer and we can build on top of it, understanding that 
  we're trying to get to a unified vision. Does that sound like the 
  right thing to do?
Dick Hardt:  Not quite because you're talking about as if there 
  is a bottom layer and then higher layers, I'm thinking there are 
  areas of pain where you can get traction early and you solve it 
  for one group and as that gets solved and matures you can move to 
  other groups.
Manu Sporny:  I agree. So we were hoping that banking and 
  finance, healthcare and education would be the main drivers 
  forward. The orgs really driving this seem to be the education 
Dick Hardt:  I like the education industry, the healthcare and 
  finance have lots of pain but they have so many different 
  requirements it's hard to solve those well. It likely will 
  distort what you're doing such that what you build won't be 
  easily used elsewhere. Imagine if the first thing on the Web was 
  healthcare and banking. We're going to do online healthcare and 
  banking and then envision what we got out of that would be useful 
  for porn or etrade.
Manu Sporny:  We're making an assertion in the problem statement, 
  we're saying there's no widely-used user centric system for 
  exchanging claims/credentials via the Web. We were talking to 
  Christopher Allen yesterday and he said a better term is 
  "self-sovereign" where people own their own data.
Manu Sporny:  Would you state the problem statement the other 

Topic: User-centric Design vs Privacy-centric Design

Dick Hardt:  I think putting the user centric attribute in front 
  of it is proposing a particular solution instead of saying what 
  the problem is. I've been a big driver of user centric and what's 
  important about that. In order to have scale, I think a 
  user-oriented approach is what is needed. Putting everything in 
  the middle is tough, if you put stuff at the edges you can scale, 
  the Internet has shown this. If we want to operate at Internet 
  scale you need a distributed approach. And a flow that goes 
  through the user instead of centrally enables you to have the 
  scale and also has another valuable attribute around privacy and 
  knowledge and consent. If it's flowing through the user with the 
  user more in the middle of it then they have the ability to have 
  more knowledge and understanding of what's there, not necessarily 
  that they will understand but the tools are there and they can 
  participate in what's happening. In contrast to giving a little 
  bit of piece of data to a server and they talk to a bunch of 
  other servers and you have no idea what's going on and they go 
  off and talk about you and then get back to you to let you know 
  your credit is good. THat's different from "power to the people 
  view" and that's not really the model that I think is critical. 
  All the identity statements made about you aren't yours and 
  aren't made by yours. It's someone else that's trusted that's 
  making that statement.
Dick Hardt:  It's the state of CA saying I can drive, Canada 
  saying I'm a citizen, Amazon saying I'm an employee, UBC saying I 
  attended, a credit agency saying I've got good credit, those are 
  statements others have said about me.
Manu Sporny:  THat's good and I'm hearing alignment with the 
  thinking we've been doing.
Manu Sporny:  The person is in control of those claims when they 
  hand them over.
Dick Hardt:  I would say that the user is in the loop when the 
  claims are moved. Control and informed, so they know it's 
  happening and acknowledge it, but it's not that they control it 
  per se.
Dick Hardt:  Subtle but significant. With control says "I've got 
  them all and I can hand them out" and I don't think it's a 
  requirement for that. I would just say "There's no widely used 
  standard for ... presenting a claim from one entity to another." 
  Anything that's self-asserted isn't interested, it's really the 
  stuff that other entities are saying about you that we want to 
  get to.

Topic: OpenID Connect, SAML, and OAuth

Manu Sporny:  When we didn't have user centric there -- a lot of 
  assertions were made that the tech is already there, like OpenID 
  Connect, SAML, etc. and those techs exist and can express, 
  present, receive verifiable claims.
Dick Hardt:  I don't think so.
Dick Hardt:  Having worked on a number of those technologies I 
  don't think they do it at all. They do it for like one or two 
  claims right? But it's not a broad thing where I can go to any 
  random site and share a wide variety claims with them... I can go 
  to a site and prove I have a google or facebook account, but none 
  of the interesting things I just talked about.
Manu Sporny:  We were talking to John Bradley and he said that 
  OpenID has a system of distributed claims and you can do this.
Dick Hardt:  I don't think so.
Manu Sporny:  People have said you can just put these 
  technologies together JOTS/JOSE, OpenID Connect, etc. and you can 
  achieve this no problem.
Dick Hardt:  I think there are a bunch of useful pieces there but 
  other pieces are missing because obviously we're not able to do 
  it today.
Manu Sporny:  If we were to start this work, what would a working 
  group focus on? Would it be being able to express the claim, data 
  format, signature format, etc. extensibility for various 
  industries? Or do you think that's useless without also working 
  on the protocol for issuing consuming, expressing credentials.
Manu Sporny:  Do you think identifiers are important, 
  self-sovereign identifiers? Being able to tie claims to 
  identifiers that aren't tied to domains.
Manu Sporny:  What would the first useful step be?
Dick Hardt:  Let's back up a bit on the problem statement.

Topic: Useful Technology Pieces

Dick Hardt:  You talk about those techs and one of the pieces 
  that isn't clear is ... "How can we share claims in a way that 
  doesn't create a highly-correlated identity fabric?" So we need 
  to say "How is it privacy protected" and I don't see that and 
  that's part of the problem. We need a mechanism of sharing these 
  that is privacy protecting.
Manu Sporny:  Yes, absolutely, I think that's a core desire. But 
  you think we're not pointing that out to the appropriate degree 
  in the problem statement?
Dick Hardt:  Yeah, you think that's covered by the user-centric 
  attribute, but I want to take that out and put in privacy ... 
  user-centric does cover it when you go deeper but privacy should 
  be brought up. YOu can say the user is informed about what the 
  system is doing.
Dick Hardt:  The other questions you put up there... do we need a 
  way of expressing claims?
Dick Hardt:  I don't think we need yet another way of expressing 
  a claim, that's well-trodden path. Do we need an architecture 
  that's privacy protecting? We need that today.
Manu Sporny:  How would you express claims?
Dick Hardt:  I would just use JWTs (jots).
Dick Hardt:  If someone wants to use [missed] we can do that too. 
  I don't think we need a new way to do that, what am I binding 
  these things to ... that's privacy protecting and that's missing.
Manu Sporny:  Can you go into the privacy protecting architecture 
Dick Hardt:  We don't have something for that, we need to figure 
  that out.
Manu Sporny:  Is that different from the protocol or related?
Dick Hardt:  Related. A number of people have talked about ideas 
  but there's no consensus. Distributed ledger is one way to do it 
  so it's not centralized identity, so that's a way of doing some 
  pieces, but there's no consensus about how to go about doing that 
  but how does it all fit together no one has laid it out. As soon 
  as you get to privacy solutions it's been a full stack that 
  doesn't take advantage of everything else. We need something with 
  all the right characteristics for privacy but enables us to use a 
  bunch of other machinery so we can link it into other systems. 
  Anything shared off of facebook isn't privacy protectin 
  necessarily. Facebook is the one store and that's problematic for 
  a bunch of other reasons.
Manu Sporny:  So you think that's most important, privacy 
  protecting architecture and protocl, etc.?

Topic: The Work on OpenID

Dick Hardt:  Well, now we move into where the work should happen, 
  is W3C the best place?
Manu Sporny:  What do you think?
Dick Hardt:  The only reason the OpenID foundation exists because 
  the IETF was mean to us and if they wouldn't let us play in their 
  sandbox we'll make our own. But now they aren't mean so we can 
  play there. Maybe there are are some architecture in statements 
  that would make sense in W3C.
Manu Sporny:  Protocol mode in IETF and higher-level document 
  stuff in W3C.
Dick Hardt:  Yeah, that seems to be how those orgs are broken up 
  and what people look to.
Manu Sporny:  I'm interested in hearing about OpenID Foundation 
  -- how do you feel the OpenID Foundation experiment worked and 
  what were good lessons learned from that initiative?
Dick Hardt:  On one hand, we got a lot of momentum around OpenID 
  because there were some pain points that many people in the 
  community had and so our timing was good on working to solve a 
  problem. So we rallied and got people together. The problem was 
  relying party websites wanted to reduce the friction of people 
  signing up. As we got into using them, logging in wasn't really a 
  painpoint for the relying party but registering was. As soon as 
  the user had to type it was bad but just clicking buttons was a 
  huge plus. In registration we wanted to know a verified email 
  because its a friction in conversion, if they have to go to an 
  email and click a button it was out of the flow and if they could 
  just click and be redirected so I don't have to verify myself 
  that's great. Unfortunately as we came up with that we stumbled 
Dick Hardt:  Addressing some of the other issues in the protocol 
  and some of the members in the foundation implemented version 2 
  of OpenID they were reluctant to look at a new version or have 
  work go on about the adoption issues around OpenID and that 
  stalled innovation and then the foundation say everyone is using 
  OAuth and the facebook model and the foundation pivoted to using 
  that because that's what people are doing and that suddenly moved 
  us away from a user-centric flow to a service-centric flow.
Manu Sporny:  Looking at tech today, OpenID Connect is there and 
  most of sites I go to have login with facebook, login with 
  twitter, login with google, etc. why do you think that happened?
Dick Hardt:  Why do I think which happened?
Manu Sporny:  Multiple different login buttons on a site? Do you 
  feel that OpenID Connect was supposed to address that or that was 
  the natural outcome?
Dick Hardt:  Well, we've often called that the Nascar problem 
  with a big flurry of logos and icons all over the place the user 
  trying to pick it.
Dick Hardt:  For the relying party they just wanted to simplify 
  registration and there were additional value adds there, and the 
  OAuth flow would let you find out about the user and which one it 
  was an it was a substitution for authentication when it was 
  really an authorization flow. [missed] In contast to SAML.
Manu Sporny:  A number of people have said SAML can express 
  verifiable claims so maybe you just need to revamp SAML and it 
  will address the problem statement, your thoughts?
Dick Hardt:  That's what the SAML people told us as the OpenID 
  people that their stuff would work and then it became Oauth and 
  OpenID connect and so clearly it wasn't solving the problem and 
  people did these other things, so No.
Dick Hardt:  One of the other problems with SAML is JSON has 
  eclipsed XML. The other thing is that the protocol flow ... 
  people have learned how to do that simpler and easier.
Manu Sporny:  Just to be clear though, your'e not suggesting that 
  OpenID Connect could be modified to address the problem 
Dick Hardt:  Depends what you mean by modify. OAuth 1 and 2 are 
  radically different and some people think OAuth 2 just modified 
  OAuth 1. It could be a good starting point with OpenID connect 
  but it's a big difference to get to what we're talking about and 
  how we manage the privacy aspects, etc.
Manu Sporny:  So it sounds like then we could get the problem to 
  fit around the privacy aspect instead of something else we're 
  focusing on.
Manu Sporny:  We're asserting there are a number of problems that 
  exist today because of service-centric architectures [manu lists 
  ramifications from vctf].
Dick Hardt:  Before you go too much further ... let me make a few 
  statements. In order for something to happen people often need a 
  commercial driver for it. We had commercial drivers for the Web, 
  you had AOL. If we're trying to solve something that's a 
  foundational infrastructure problem it's going to be difficult 
  for there to be a business model around it and fortunately we 
  have standards bodies to handle it. To talk about some places 
  that have somewhat solved citizen identity like Estonia and 
  Singapore. They've put in centralized systems and their cultures 
  allow them to know everything you're doing and it works for them. 
  It's a railway type system getting data from A to B but going to 
  C is really hard. It's really only the big players that are 
  pariticipating in moving it around so it doesn't have the 
  internet/web characteristics where it's easy for anyone to join 
  and that dramatically reduces innovation because the bar to 
  participate is too high like rails.
Dick Hardt:  Rails are a certain width, where you can go is 
  dictated by the railway the carts, the way it moves.
Dick Hardt:  Different from highways systems, add new roads, 
  connect up to it, etc.

Topic: The Best Mode for a Solution

Dick Hardt:  Railway is more efficient to move from A to B but 
  long term the highway system has so much more flexibility but 
  isnt' as safe, controlled but enables more innovation.
Dick Hardt:  What's the highway system for moving identity info 
  vs. the railway system that's proven in a few countries.
Manu Sporny:  There's always a big argument for building systems 
  out in a modular way... and those args apply here, but do you 
  feel that it would be damaging for us to say there may be 3 or 4 
  ways to express a claim ... do you think we should say you should 
  have multiple solutions at each point in the architecture, 
  multiple ways to express, multiple ways to transport, etc or 
  would that be a failure to standardize?
Dick Hardt:  I think there are a number of things to leave open 
  for standardization. You say which way of the road you drive on 
  and how stop signs look and how traffic lights work there are a 
  few things like that, the minimal amount for interop, but the 
  payload is probably something we don't need to specify. That can 
  be a different group and maybe a variety of different systems.
Manu Sporny: http://w3c.github.io/vctf/#problem
Manu Sporny:  Do you believe the problems in the statement exist 
  today or would you state them in a different way?
Dick Hardt:  I'd rephrase 1 differently and the second and third 
  ones are great ways of talking about it.
Dick Hardt:  Vendor lock in is obviously a challenge and starting 
  off ... identity services inject themselves into every 
  relationship is just stating an opinion around something. You 
  want to get away from where there's somebody that has to be 
  central in the movement because that doesn't scale and it has 
  negative privacy implications.
Dick Hardt:  It's a control point ... there a number of problems 
  I'd like to articulate better.
Dick Hardt:  You don't want everything to go through a central 
  service, minimize that, this is the Web. Or maybe operate like 
  DNS is operated.
Manu Sporny:  You were saying things that are at this standards 
  core, so you may want to standardize on a data model.
Dick Hardt:  You want to enable all of those and let people 
  change the data model, maybe there will be a new one in 10 years.
Manu Sporny:  So more like content-negotiation like http handled 
Manu Sporny:  You've got the http protocol to move docs but 
  content-negotiation to say what syntax to use, etc.
Dick Hardt:  And the same server may be able to say it in a 
  variety of different formats and as new models come out they can 
  say it in a different way.
Manu Sporny:  Ok, let's move off of problem statement ... do you 
  feel like the changes you've mentioned you'd feel comfortable 
  saying there should be work started around it?
Dick Hardt:  It's a problem that needs to be solved and we should 
  figure out how to solve it and there's a lack of consensus around 
  the problem so far and a good work item would be tightening up 
  that problem statement.
Manu Sporny:  That's effectively what the VCTF is charged with 
  doing so we want to come out with a problem statement with 
Dick Hardt:  I think if you don't have consensus from a wide 
  variety of people not just a single industry it won't solve the 
Manu Sporny:  Banking, healthcare, education, general web 
  technologists as a minimum?
Dick Hardt:  I would go with rough consensus and downplay the 
  people who have the hard problems and minimizing their influence 
  because they will have so many other requirements that will cloud 
  the essential ones. Education is potentially more open to things. 
  And doesn't have privacy and ... all these other things like 
  HIPAA and other financial regs ... and identity system would not 
  work with them initially and the regulatory environment and how 
  it works and people have more confidence in what they do (banking 
  and healthcare) would eventually adopt those things. But having 
  them drive it would lead us down a path to a suboptimal solution 
  that would work for them but not others.
Dick Hardt:  Education, porn sites that want to know you're old 
  enough, things that aren't mission critical, no life 
  endangerment, etc.
Dick Hardt:  With OpenID we had that whole long tail of people 
  who wanted to solve the problem but it wasn't mission critical 
  stuff. They just wanted registration solved and you can type in 
  your own email etc ... that was a great use case and we blew it.
Manu Sporny:  So anything that's dealing with low stakes 
Manu Sporny:  Give us your shipping address or prove you're over 
Dick Hardt:  Yeah, the postal services have been trying to figure 
  out how to be relevant and where do you really live and proof of 
  that's really your address could be an area.
Manu Sporny:  It sounds like with some changes based on your 
  input you'd maybe be ok with the problem statement and you think 
  there's work here to be done on a protocol and privacy, etc. Are 
  you in general saying, this is interesting and we could do some 
  work here? or do you think maybe we shouldn't start the work 
  right now ... any thoughts?
Dick Hardt:  The timing thing ... the main thing in this space we 
  need a chicken, egg, and a rooster. Someone making the statement, 
  someone wants the statement, and the user. All three need to get 
  aligned. Adding that third party makes it a little more 
  complicated than in the past. You need to find some industry that 
  wants to solve it but is willing to pay the highway tax we'll 
  call it in a way that's more open and extensible to solving other 
Manu Sporny:  As you pointed out, education is one such industry, 
  they want to express credentials in a standard way...
Dick Hardt:  From a timing point of view you need someone who 
  wants the info and they will also be sending it out and they can 
  tell the students what to do.
Dick Hardt:  So that sounds like it has the right characteristics 
  of a group to work with. The challenge is making sure it works in 
  other places as well.
Dick Hardt:  Extensible, etc.
Dick Hardt:  SAML was a mistake because everything had to fit 
  into a particular type of assertion and how will you stuff SAML 
  into an HTTP header and so on.
Dick Hardt:  If I heard more about what everyone else had to say 
  I'd have opinions on what they said.
Manu Sporny:  There's a link with everyone else so far, so you 
  can read it, all public.
Manu Sporny:  Christopher Allen, Brad Hill, Drummond Reed, so far 
  in terms of interviews.
Manu Sporny:  We might circle back around with you once we have a 
  charter and get your feedback.
Dick Hardt:  Ok, I hope it will.
Manu Sporny:  We really appreciate your help. Thank you very 
Received on Friday, 29 January 2016 20:54:30 UTC

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