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RDFAuth: an initial sketch

From: Story Henry <henry.story@bblfish.net>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2008 13:06:52 +0100
Message-Id: <26D4ABDA-7CBE-4C40-B81B-DA7466DD5D5F@bblfish.net>
To: foaf-dev of a Friend <foaf-dev@lists.foaf-project.org>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>

I would like to put the following forward as a sketch of what is  
needed to allow a resource to return different representations  
depending on the identity of the requester. We are looking for some  
security experts and others to help out here.

There may be other standards that can be used, but it would help to  
see how far one can get with a very clean system to start off with. At  
least this should help understand what is needed.

The idea is simple. We have 4 resources here.

1. A Semantic Web client owned by Romeo ( something like Beatnik,  
Tabulator or Knowee )
2. Juliette's foaf file resource controlled by a slightly intelligent  
web service (one that knows to show which parts of the graph to show  
to whom)
3. Romeo's foaf file (perhaps also controlled by an intelligent web  
service, but there is no need for this here)
4. Romeo's public key. This could be part of the foaf file, but  
assuming that it does not change that often, it would be better placed  
at a separate resource in order to be more easily cacheable

So the sequence of calls I imagine are the following:

1. Romeo wants to have information about <http://juliette.org/ 
#juliette> (Juliette) so he GETs <http://juliette.org/>
2. the server responds with either:
    - some minimal information and a yet to be invented return code of  
    - a 403 Forbidden
    In either case a header returning some information regarding the  
type of authentication required is sent back
3. the client sends a GET back with some header information:
    - the URL of Romeo <http://romeo.name/#romeo>
    - an encrypted string (perhaps a string sent in the previous  
4. The server controlling Juliette's foaf doc sends a GET request to  
the foaf file
5. The server controlling Romeo's foaf doc returns his foaf file, in  
any number of formats, or perhaps even a GRDDLable document the server  
can understand,  containing a link to one of his public pgp keys
6. Juliet's server queries this representation transformed into  
triples with the SPARQL query

    PREFIX wot: <http://xmlns.com/wot/0.1/>
    SELECT ?pgp
    WHERE {
        [] wot:identity <http://romeo.name/#romeo>;
           wot:pubkeyAddress ?pgp .

7. Juliette uses the answer in 6 to GET the PGP key.
    (what to do if someone has more that one PGP key?)

8. Romeo's server returns the PGP key

9. Juliette's server uses the public key to decrypt the string passed  
in 3. Having done this Juliette's server now knows that the request in  
3 came
    from software owned by <http://romeo.name/#romeo>.

10. Juliette's server after consulting her policies for <http://romeo.name/#rome 
 >, returns the appropriate response;  a 200 perhaps with a fuller  
foaf file. Perhaps something else needs to be returned, a token to  
give access to a number of resources (expressed in POWDER perhaps).

Now Romeo has more information about Juliette. Perhaps information  
about where she they can meet.

This seems quite feasible.

Some thoughts that just arose from going through the exercise of  
specifying each of the steps precisely:
  - what kind of response should be returned in 2? Should this  
redirect to an authentication server perhaps which would then return  
some token to give access to all the resources in a domain?
  - What about multiple  pgp keys?
  - others?

Does this help?


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(image/png attachment: SequenceDiagram.png)

Received on Thursday, 27 March 2008 12:07:50 UTC

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