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Mozilla comments on Payments WG charter

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2015 12:01:20 -0400
To: public-webpayments-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <20150917160120.GA3605@pescadero.dbaron.org>
I thought it's worth sharing here the comments I submitted as part
of the AC review of the payments WG charter, from



I'd like to ensure that it's possible to build a Web browser that
can make payments using the deliverables of the working group, as
they are actually deployed, without also building a payment
processing system (e.g., building the relationships with banks,
etc., that have been necessary for Apple to build Apple Pay) or
having a business partnership with somebody who has done that.
Doing this seems possible technically, but it requires participation
from issuing banks or payment systems in order to register payment
instruments (and run whatever systems are required by that

I don't think the deliverables and scope described in the current
charter are precise enough to tell whether that's the case.  I
regret not previously pushing back harder against the charter being
unclear and using terms (like "digital wallet") that abstract away
what is actually happening.

I think both the scope of the charter and the deliverables need to
be clear about what the working group is actually being chartered to
build.  Who are the parties involved in the Web payments ecosystem,
which of the group's deliverables apply to each party, and are all
of those parties actually willing to make this happen in the way
that the charter describes?  (A diagram could be helpful here.)  Or,
to state this concern differently: I think the charter is not clear
enough about what it proposes to build for the AC to tell who the
parties needed to build that technology are, and whether they're
involved in the work.

I think (although I'm not sure) that the relevant parties to involve
in order to build an open payments system are, for credit card
payments, the issuing banks.  (An alternative might be the payment
systems like Visa, MasterCard, etc.)  So the charter would need to
be clear about which parts of the proposed system are infrastructure
at the issuing banks, so that in their charter review, those banks
are able to understand which part of the system they are expected to
provide, and to comment on the charter based on that understanding.

In slightly more detail:

I think the Scope section of the current charter draft could be
interpreted in different ways.  It's not clear which communications
between parties in the payment process are part of the standardized
message flow, and which are part of the proprietary "delivery
mechanism".  Nor is it clear which common delivery mechanisms will
be standardized.

The use of the concept of "digital wallet" doesn't seem to add
anything, since it is described only as a container for payment
instruments, of which a user may have more than one.  The
partitioning of payment instruments into digital wallets is
completely undefined, as is the relationship of digital wallets to
concepts that exist in an implementation.

The deliverables section doesn't really say what is being delivered.
The first three bullets are goals, the middle three bullets are
messages between unspecified parties (in which the term "digital
wallet service" appears out of nowhere, undefined), and the last
three bullets are use cases.


𝄞   L. David Baron                         http://dbaron.org/   𝄂
𝄢   Mozilla                          https://www.mozilla.org/   𝄂
             Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
             What I was walling in or walling out,
             And to whom I was like to give offense.
               - Robert Frost, Mending Wall (1914)

Received on Thursday, 17 September 2015 16:01:51 UTC

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