W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-xml-sig-ws@w3.org > April 1999

Re: what does a signature mean ? (standard vocabulary)

From: Martin Lee <m.lee@andtech.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 14:26:40 +0100
Message-ID: <01BE8B39.CEC709E0@MARTINS.andtech.co.uk>
To: "'XML-sig group'" <w3c-xml-sig-ws@w3.org>
Thanks for the replies,

I agree that this working group is not necessarily the place to decide
on a set of standard vocabulary. I'm glad there is at least the suggestion
of a separate WG to address this.

I'd like to underline Bede McCall's point that not all signatures are
going to be by people for a legally binding contract. In this case,
 if the contract cant be displayed on the screen in an unambiguous
way, then it needs to be re-written. But there are more applications 
where digital signatures can be used, and areas where it is not 
appropriate for the signer to endorse the data signed. 
- to extend the example from the intelligence world, a digital stamp 
to say the information has been delivered to the relevant department,
or a signature to say the information has been read by someone important.

To prevent developers, and the public, making the mistake that a digitally 
signing a document means 'I am legally and irrecoverably agreeing with
the signed data', I believe it needs to be stated in the specification that 
signatures can mean different things in different environments and the 
context or meaning of the signature can be described in the attribute 


Martin Lee
AND Data Ltd.
Received on Tuesday, 20 April 1999 09:27:21 UTC

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