[foaf-dev] quick notes re Online Account Re: [foaf-protocols] creating a cert service

Dan Brickley danbri at danbri.org
Tue Jan 27 17:13:47 CET 2009

+cc: foaf-dev

On 27/1/09 17:01, Story Henry wrote:
> Danbri had a great idea, and that is to use foaf:OnlineAccount as the
> type of the thing I am creating. [...snip]

Something I also forgot to write down yet: ...

I have an idea that we can tie together many kinds of 'online accounts' 
via the notion that they are each something which their owner can 
'prove' control of, with varying degrees of formality.

For example, some sites ask you to 'prove' you control your alleged 
phone number. Or a web page / domain by inserting certain markup into a 
page (Google for domains does this, also some blog aggregators). OpenID 
is machinery for proving you control some page. IM/XMPP interactions can 
be used to prove you control some chat account; and of course millions 
of emailed codes / links are sent daily to prove that you control (have 
read access to read) some mailbox. I think PGP/GPG and digital certs can 
also be considered in this way, although with PGP there's not so much a 
notion of a service provider as with most other kinds of 'account'.

Does that make sense as kind of high level narrative? How it shakes out 
in the spec, I'm not sure...

Once we have the idea that people can prove control of an account, we 
can associate RDF/data "from" that account with its owner/controller. 
Which brings me to another under-documented problem, that of 
dis-entangling statements / claims from the service provider from those 
of the account holder. I made some notes on that here - 
http://svn.foaf-project.org/foaftown/2009/headstream/readme.txt - but 
haven't made time to write it up properly yet. Short version: a SPARQL 
CONSTRUCT for some service can be used to take a pile of RDF/RDFa and 
separate out the data streams from provider and from account holder. For 
example, the parts that the service has checked (eg. that the holder 
controls some openid, or email, or phone); this is important since we 
want to know who-said-what...

thinking out loud on the run,



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