[foaf-dev] [Fwd: [FriendFeed] Re: FOAF tweaks]

Richard Cyganiak richard at cyganiak.de
Fri May 9 15:01:25 BST 2008

On 9 May 2008, at 13:39, Julian Bond wrote:
> So basically, I just don't see a significant security issue with  
> including mbox_sha1sum. YMMV.

Let's say Bob has an account at site X and another account at site Y.  
He wants to keep the identities distinct; one might be about his work  
life and the other might be related to his online gaming identity and  
he doesn't want smushing between them. If site X and site Y both say:  
“We will never, ever publish your email address”, then he might feel  
fine about using the same email address in both places.

Now, if sites X and Y publish hashes of users' email addresses, it  
becomes possible to smush Bob's two identities, and discover Bob Smith  
on site X is TheReaper83 on site Y. This will violate Bob's  
expectations, and he might feel betrayed by the sites.

That's the security issue.

mbox_sha1sum is like an “identity fingerprint” that can be tracked  
across the Web. Users will be surprised that sites publish such a  


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