W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webpayments@w3.org > June 2014

Re: Proof of Concept: Identity Credentials Login

From: Adrian Hope-Bailie <adrian@hopebailie.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 09:32:43 +0200
Message-ID: <CA+eFz_LikRwy-WbqpU8_O6JsdpEOFgf+hU-03HQMwnd2Gy4P2A@mail.gmail.com>
To: Dave Lampton <dave.lampton@gmail.com>
Cc: ☮ elf Pavlik ☮ <perpetual-tripper@wwelves.org>, Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>, Web Payments CG <public-webpayments@w3.org>
Hi Dave,

I am also a new member to the group so treading lightly on previous work.

I looked at the idea of using DNS to host identity too and I believe it has
some compelling characteristics.

I would suggest that the way to designate the location of an IdP in DNS
would be to use a SRV record. See RFC 673 DNS based service discovery:

On the other hand I think your proposal is not really suitable for the W3C
working group and would be better suited as a proposal to the IETF.

Using DNS excludes a great number of clients that today don't have the
low-level capability of performing specific DNS queries such as service

I believe a greater discussion is required around what constitutes an
effort to "standardise" and what is actually invention of completely new
ideas. If there is to be a standard developed that marries the Web Platform
with the traditionally closed and proprietary payments ecosystem it will
need integrate better into existing payments channels and not simply
propose to replace everything.

I also think there needs to be more discussion about whether identity is
that important. If a payment is initiated by the payer via a channel they
trust (internet banking, wallet app etc) and the payee simply receives a
digitally signed proof-of-payment if the form of a receipt from an entity
they trust (their payment gateway, bank, wallet provider etc) why does the
payee need access to the payer's details at all?


On 12 June 2014 03:30, Dave Lampton <dave.lampton@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all, I am still relatively new to this group and trying to catch up
> with the work that has been done thus far on Web Payments, and I'll be the
> first to acknowledge that I may have still missed some important details
> (but I don't believe so). Likewise, I don't want to conflate the
> conversation too much with my own ideas for implementing "digital cash"
> transactions, so you can take my comments with a grain of salt, at least
> for now. :-)
> To me, the proposed system already just feels overly complex for the tasks
> at hand - lots of moving parts, several steps involved. I'm all for using
> existing open standards, but it seems like we may be limiting ourselves (or
> rather, complicating the problem, I think) instead of simply inventing only
> what's really needed.
> TL;DR - I'm with Melvin Carvalho and his comments made yesterday re: his
> fundamental dissatisfaction with 3rd party identity solutions (even just
> the concept of a 3rd party doing this for me is troublesome). I'm largely
> unsatisfied with the various identity systems already competing - they are
> not particularly fun or easy to work with, and the one you need today is
> usually that one you've never needed to look at before today.
> Additionally, I still feel uneasy about using email addresses at all in
> any sort of next-gen payment system, but especially if the real goal is to
> ultimately just attach to browsers/devices anyway. This "shim" already
> sounds like something we would prefer to throw away, so then, let's just
> leap-frog it altogether.
> Furthermore, I agree with a few others that URI's are wholly inadequate in
> the role of endpoints because more than one can be live on the same host
> and therefore they invite people to potentially host multiple people's
> money (and the transactions thereof) on a single host or device, which just
> seems like the quick road to widespread corruption. Using the browsers as
> secure endpoints seems like an even worse idea, regardless of who suggested
> it all the way back in 1990. ;-)  Browsers are too transient or inconstant
> for my taste, and again, multiple instances can be running simultaneously
> on a host. If used properly they could work fine, I suppose, but they are
> also a piece of software which means they are also game-able, open for
> abuse, emulation, fraud.
> And while I'm complaining about everything, I'll even point out that our
> de facto API these days, a RESTful interface, is also overkill for the very
> few types of messages we actually need to pass around. I find that the
> problems can be solved with a small set of JSON-LD (or BSON-LD?) messages
> (representing individual sets of currency units and the transactions
> intended to be applied to them) which can be passed around over secure Web
> sockets (wss:// protocol over port 443).
> So... in my mind, it seems our digital "wallets" or "accounts", or
> whatever we call the things that send and receive transactions and are the
> "physical" homes for our digital money, should each only be assigned to one
> and only one *fully qualified domain name* such as "usd1.davelampton.com"
> for example. An FQDN is simply an assigned hostname controlled by the
> domain owner, who can point it at any host or device on his or her domain
> subnet, by using DNSSEC <http://www.dnssec.net/>, specifically (i.e.we
> would probably need to insist on the adoption of Secure DNS, since standard
> DNS has known security flaws). A new type of resource record would need
> to be used, perhaps a "CTX" record for "currency transaction exchanger"?? Anyone
> controlling a FQDN controls the (necessarily homogeneous) currency units
> (money) held in the one CTX residing there, period. No password needs to be
> known or saved by the stupid humans. (No passwords using "123456"!) Thus
> far, I'm yet to be really convinced any separate IdP is even required once
> endpoints are secured by a unique hostname (FQDN)... more discussion on
> that later(*).
> Someone asked:
> > How will the request to this identity provider location/URL be
> authenticated?
> So my answer to this is simply to use ZoneSigner
> <https://www.dnssec-tools.org/wiki/index.php/Zonesigner>, a DNSSEC tool
> used to secure the reverse delegations.
> When an end user creates an account with the clearing house (or central
> bank, or whoever is clearing transactions on that currency), a new unique
> keypair is generated and assigned - private keys saved and public keys
> shared only by those two parties. One unique keypair per CTX account - and
> only one CTX account per FQDN.
> In general, the Peer-Assisted Key Derivation Function (PAKDF) as suggested
> by Evan Schwartz is a great solution for turning a weak password (the kind
> humans can remember) into a strong signed key. If a unique keypair is
> generated by the clearing house / central bank for that currency and then
> assigned to the corresponding account/wallet nobody else will ever know or
> manage any server or account/wallet passwords other than for
> server/endpoint administration, perhaps. We can thus begin and end with
> strong keys and not bother with the human incapacity for remembering
> important things. I don't think it's even necessary for anyone to know a
> password other than possibly for the Web-based administration interface to
> manage the hosted transaction services.
> Now, in my own proposed (work-in-progress) solution, something akin to
> your "Telehash" service would be hosted by the clearing house / central
> bank of the corresponding currency itself and is responsible for auth/auth
> of incoming requests for services, the immediate transaction approval or
> disapproval, the immediate processing of each of those transactions, and
> the updating of the public distributed database which keeps tabs on each
> outstanding piece of currency (after already publicly invalidating the
> previous FQDN's ownership hash for that unit of currency prior to
> generating and publicly sharing the newly signed ownership hash. Anyone can
> test any piece of currency in the marketplace at any time, but only the
> current owner will get a matched signature, because their FQDN was used to
> generate the current hash value stored with the currency's serial number in
> the publicly distributed database.
> (*) A bit more discussion: an FQDN is literally as close as we get to
> something physical on the Internet because it IS physical and relatively
> static. By attaching software objects to FQDN's we achieve a "physicality"
> presently missing in the digital realm. This physicality implies true
> uniqueness at all times - just like real cash. A digital entity (in this
> case, some unit of digital cash) can move in the digital universe only when
> a transaction is approved and executed, and may only exist in one place at
> a time (namely, its current, pre-approved home). This is what is required
> for money to only belong to one individual (account) at a time, only after
> issued a new UUID and after previous incarnations have been publicly
> invalidated already and marked for removal at some convenient time. Perhaps
> Dave Longley's last comment alludes to this but I would emphasize that no
> separate IdP is required - one's clearing house or central bank for the
> currency being held in a particular wallet effectively becomes the IdP.
> Each wallet can only hold currency issued or managed by the clearing house
> / central bank that issued that money (accounts themselves acting here as
> the user's identity service provider). I think this concept of physicality
> can (and should) be expanded to lots of other "nouns" that we would like to
> have live in only ONE place at a time in our digital universe (the whole
> Net or perhaps just a local subnet). As long as each one is *uniquely*
> attached to a FQDN (or another software object that is already attached to
> a FQDN, potentially ad infinitum...) and each previous instance (in some
> other physical location) has been publicly invalidated before the newly
> created instance arrives in its present destination, then we can trust its
> uniqueness.
> OK, I'm probably rambling now... while I could go on and on, I've probably
> already ruffled more feathers than perhaps I should in one day.
> Cheers. ;-)
> Dave Lampton
> * @dave_lampton <https://twitter.com/dave_lampton>*
> * DaveLampton <https://www.facebook.com/DaveLampton>  +DaveLampton
> <https://www.google.com/+DaveLampton>*
> www.linkedin.com/in/davelampton/
> On Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 3:03 PM, ☮ elf Pavlik ☮ <
> perpetual-tripper@wwelves.org> wrote:
>> On 06/10/2014 06:25 AM, Manu Sporny wrote:
>> > TL;DR: There is now an open source demo of credential-based login
>> > for the Web. We think it’s better than Persona, WebID+TLS, and
>> > OpenID Connect. If we can build enough support for Identity
>> > Credentials over the next year, we’d like to standardize it via
>> > the W3C.
>> Congratulations!
>> I find it very impressing especially since you got running pushed to a
>> public repo - kudos++
>> First question coming to my mind:
>> "The way that both Mozilla Persona and OpenID do it is fairly similar.
>> OpenID assumes that your email address maps to your identity provider."
>> In my case, and I believe nowadays quite many other people, I control
>> domain which I use for email address. With simple DNS configuration I
>> use different 'providers' for my email server and my web server (here
>> myself).
>> In this situation I find using webfinger[1] (also used by OpenID
>> Connect), more attractive then hiding from myself via
>> http://login-hub.com - even if His Holiness @Pontifex with His Holiness
>> @DalaiLama would run it very carefully together ;)
>> I still need to take some time and wrap my head around your design but
>> maybe you could easily evaluate complexity of including webfinger based
>> flow as an alternative option for those who may prefer such setup?
>> Once again - GREAT WORK!!!
>> [1] http://webfinger.net
Received on Thursday, 12 June 2014 09:30:24 UTC

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