W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > March 2008

Re: [foaf-dev] Re: privacy and open data

From: Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 08:11:44 -0400
Message-Id: <E5710D54-AA44-4AE3-9AA6-AA827DCC7B9C@gmail.com>
Cc: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>, Julian Bond <julian_bond@voidstar.com>, foaf-dev of a Friend <foaf-dev@lists.foaf-project.org>
To: Story Henry <henry.story@bblfish.net>

The Handle system has a specification for encryption. My feeling is  
that if you want to build something that will scale and last you  
should do this carefully and properly secure. I'm not a security  
expert, but this is a job for one of those.



On Mar 26, 2008, at 7:36 AM, Story Henry wrote:

> On 25 Mar 2008, at 19:04, Story Henry wrote:
>> On 25 Mar 2008, at 18:59, Julian Bond wrote:
>>> Benjamin Nowack <bnowack@semsol.com> Tue, 25 Mar 2008 15:51:08
>>>> That's as simple and close to existing mechanisms as I could get  
>>>> it.
>>>> Unlike OpenID and oAuth, there is no need for redirects, so  
>>>> RDFAuth works
>>>> for non-browser agents, which was my main requirement.
>>> I feel like I'm missing something here. oAuth was built  
>>> specifically to enable non-browser agents and non-UI applications  
>>> to have good authentication. And it feels like you're re- 
>>> inventing oAuth. And I'm not sure why.
>> Well I may be reinventing it because its obvious. Which would be  
>> good :-)
>> Let me check it out, since it comes up again and again.
> Ok, so I read the initial incomplete getting-started documentation  
> on oAuth, and quickly perused the spec. There are parts that are  
> interesting and may be useful, and also I may have missed some  
> important bits. My initial feeling is that oAuth could be a lot  
> better if it made use of Linked Data [1].
> Just from reading the getting started documentation I had the  
> following reservations:
>  - I am not looking for one time authorisation to access resources,  
> which is what oAuth provides.
>  - A client such as the Beatnik Address Book is not a web client.  
> It is a Semantic Web client. So the User Agent is a consumer of  
> data, not of human readable content. oAuth seems to be designed for  
> reading human consumable web pages. The human reading the site has  
> a few things to read, then gets redirected, then enters his  
> password in his old site, then gets redirected again. As a result  
> his pictures that belonged to one site now appear in another web  
> site, ...
>  - I have a feeling that the oAuth protocol is a pairwise protocol.  
> It seems that every site has to get into a contract with every  
> other web site they want to do business with for this to work. I  
> don't see this scaling as it is. Perhaps with semantic help it could.
> What I am looking for is even simpler than oAuth at the first  
> level. I want simply the server to be able to decide what  
> representation to return to a user. The user is initially (usually)  
> not identified. So the resource should know how to return a default  
> representation, and let the client know that more information is  
> available. If the user identifies himself then more information is  
> made available. What the server decides to make available or not is  
> not of interest here. Presumably the server has a notion of groups  
> and a notion of information that can be made available to members  
> of these groups.
> Since the best way to identify a user is with a URI, a la foaf, we  
> should use a URI identifier. Note, this need not be a person. It  
> could also be a foaf:Agent. In order to help make sure that the  
> user is who he says he is, he encrypts a string (eg. the uri of the  
> requested resource appended with a nonce) with a pgp private key  
> that is available from his identifier. (use of linked data)
> I don't think one can do simpler than that.
> Now on top of that I can imagine a service like oAuth being built.   
> So let us give the Beppa eco friendly printing site a foaf file
> http://beppa.com/#company
> which could be encoded in rdfa in the html of the front page. [2]
> then what is needed would be a way for beppa to ask to be added to  
> a group which gives short term access to resources belonging to  
> another agent (why not identify him via his foaf id?). This seems  
> to be all that oAuth is doing. Once that is settled, we are back to  
> our very simple use case described above. Beppa could then ask for  
> the resources by identifying itself as beppa, and the server could  
> then return the correct representations. So it seems one could  
> build one on top of the other.
> So from what I have read at present I think at first what is needed  
> is just the very simple protocol a la RDFAuth that was mentioned  
> previously. More complex services can be built on to of that.
> Does that sounds right? Have I missed something important?
> 	Henry
> [1] http://blogs.sun.com/bblfish/entry/hyperdata_and_folktologies
> [2] http://blogs.sun.com/bblfish/entry/a_foaf_file_for_sun
>> Henry
>>> -- 
>>> Julian Bond  E&MSN: julian_bond at voidstar.com  M: +44 (0)77  
>>> 5907 2173
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Received on Wednesday, 26 March 2008 12:12:40 UTC

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