W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > May 2016

Re: HTTPS and the Semantic Web

From: Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 21 May 2016 13:29:48 +0200
Message-ID: <CAKaEYhKW9TR-AtMbPnjPn+y8P-cXBHTp6bZMm91bp8t2V17Kgw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
Cc: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, Nathan Rixham <nathan@webr3.org>, Phil Archer <phila@w3.org>, Semantic Web IG <semantic-web@w3.org>
On 21 May 2016 at 06:44, Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org> wrote:

> Given that the Semantic Web use of HTTP URIs basically means that any use
> of 'follow your nose' is easily subverted by anyone with access to the raw
> HTTP stream, we should just update the Semantic Web specs and reasoners so
> that TLS is enforced by default and HTTP = HTTP(S).
>
> While it is true that some normal web-pages *can* serve different content
> at TLS than non-TLS, it's currently considered pathological.
>

> If the Semantic Web doesn't gracefully deal with the upgrade from HTTP to
> TLS, it will date itself quite quickly and will not be usable for any
> real-world usage (notice almost all major sites now are moving to TLS)
> outside of enterprise use within a firewall or usages where there's no
> 'follow your nose' effort. In the latter case, I'm not sure if using HTTP
> URIs makes sense to begin with.
>

Opinions such as "[the semantic web] will not be usable for any real-world
usage", is unhelpful speculation, and IMHO inappropriate for this list.


>
> Note that the upgrade should be relatively cost-free, see the "Let's
> Encrypt" effort for free TLS certs.
>
> On Fri, May 20, 2016 at 6:04 PM, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us> wrote:
>
>>
>> On May 20, 2016, at 5:02 PM, Nathan Rixham <nathan@webr3.org> wrote:
>>
>> ....
>> An x:alias predicate which asserts that one name (IRI) is an alias of
>> another name (IRI) would be very useful. <a#b> x:alias <c#d> .
>>
>> An x:canonical predicate which asserts <a#b> x:alias <c#d> . and that
>> <a#b> is the preferred IRI more useful still.
>>
>>
>> Just an observation - it may be that practical needs override formality -
>> but this is not legal according to the RDF semantics. The truth of a triple
>> aaa R bbb depends only on what the IRIs in the triple, in particular aaa
>> and bbb, *denote*, not on their syntactic form. So x:alias would have the
>> same semantics as owl:sameAs (and we all know what happened to *that* when
>> it got out into the wide world.)
>>
>> We could sneak around this by declaring (contrary to the normative
>> semantics, but still...) that x:alias is a new kind of property, one that
>> quotes its arguments and is therefore referentially opaque. There would
>> have been a time when I would have opposed this idea with some vigor, but
>> age has mellowed me. And the internal semantic coherence of the Web can
>> hardly get worse than it is already, so what the hell.  Just be ready for
>> the truly awful muddle that will arise when x:alias bumps into owl:sameAs
>> and reasoners try to figure out what the consequences might be.
>>
>> A better solution would be to invent, and have everyone adopt[**], a
>> IRI-quoting-IRI convention, something like x:theIRI# , with the semantics
>> that x:theIRI#someOtherIRI always denotes someOtherIRI. (Maybe this would
>> need some clever character-escaping? I leave that to others to work out.)
>> Then x:theIRI#a#b x:alias x:theIRI#c#d would mean what you want to express,
>> above.
>>
>> Pat Hayes
>>
>> [**] There's the rub, of course.
>>
>>
>> Using syntax shortcuts you could add the following triple to the turtle
>> document at https://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#
>>
>>    rdf: x:canonical <http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#> .
>>
>> Result:
>> <http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#> a owl:Ontology .
>> <https://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#> a owl:Ontology .
>>
>>
>> Point 2:
>>
>> Using a 307 redirect for the semantic is nice, but practically click
>> http://www.w3.org/ns/dcat# and you are redirected, refresh and you find
>> the client does use the redirected url for subsequent requests.
>>
>> As a general person or developer search w3.org for dcat and the results
>> are https://www.google.com/search?q=site:w3.org%20dcat - the url listed
>> is the https url.
>>
>> Usage of the https IRIs will enter the web of data ever increasingly,
>> whether people say the http one should be used or not.
>>
>> Point 3:
>>
>> Practically taking a simple real world step like migrating to a CDN will
>> often give http/2+tls thus https IRIs automatically.
>>
>> Test case:
>>
>> Alice has a wordpress/drupal site that publishes RDF automatically. She
>> doesn't know about the RDF.
>> Alice clicks the "free CDN" button in her hosting account.
>> Alice now has https and http IRIs in RDF on both http:// and https://
>> protocols.
>>
>> Personally I cannot think of anything easier than as best practise adding
>> a single triple to rdf documents when migrating protocols. Anything within
>> the black box will fail and be implemented incorrectly.
>>
>> On Sat, May 21, 2016 at 12:42 AM, Melvin Carvalho <
>> melvincarvalho@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On 20 May 2016 at 20:08, Phil Archer <phila@w3.org> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Not a moan about spam, or a CfP, but an actual discussion point, yay!
>>>>
>>>> I've just blogged about our use of HTTPS across www.w3.org which
>>>> raises some questions for this community. Please see
>>>> https://www.w3.org/blog/2016/05/https-and-the-semantic-weblinked-data/
>>>
>>>
>>> On the one hand more security is a nice to have, but on the other, Cool
>>> URIs dont change.  It's really hard to estimate the cost, and unintended
>>> consequences of changing URIs.  But my feeling is that we systematically
>>> underestimate it.
>>>
>>> IMHO, It's kind of a shame that http wasnt made secure, and that a new
>>> scheme https was invented.
>>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Comments welcome.
>>>>
>>>> Thanks
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Phil Archer
>>>> W3C Data Activity Lead
>>>> http://www.w3.org/2013/data/
>>>>
>>>> http://philarcher.org
>>>> +44 (0)7887 767755
>>>> @philarcher1
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
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>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
Received on Saturday, 21 May 2016 11:30:18 UTC

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