Friday, February 17, 2006

Identity Rights Agreements Quibbles

Phil Windley posts a position paper that he, Kaliya Hamlin, and Aldo Castaneda created for the W3C Workshop on Transparency and Usability of Web Authentication.

One paragraph caught my eye:
Relying parties requesting identity information would receive back a standard response indicating the IRA associated with that identity data. Proceeding with the transaction would be interpreted as agreeing to abide by the IRA requirement.
  1. The implication is that some sort of 2-phase negotiation would always occur - the RP asking for some bit of identity, the IDP indicating under what IRAs it would be releaased, and the RP then resubmitting its original request. If the RP were to submit its original request with a particular IRA referenced, the semantics would be 'This is how I intend to use, store, protect the identity should you release it to me' and no such negotiation would be necessary.

  2. Also implied is that the RP's commitment to agreeeing to abide by the IRA returned by the IDP would be implicit, determined from its choosing to resend the original request. This wouldn't be sufficient, subsequent audits would almost certainly require an explicit 'OK, I am re-submitting my request under IRA X'
Granted that this level of pedantry over unstated details is completely unfair when reading a position paper.

The position paper also argues for a Service Provider Reputation Network, a mechanism to ensure SPs abide by the IRAs through social pressure. What isn't clear to me from the paper is who scores the SPs, i.e. who tarnishes their reputation when they mishandle identity information - the users whose identity data was misused or the IDPs who released it.

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