[foaf-protocols] new WebID Charter draft

peter williams home_pw at msn.com
Fri Dec 17 12:40:00 CET 2010

So let's hopefully deal with another setup issue (that some will claim is a
canard, on cue).

The nature of this topic is that governments care; you cannot do identity
without hitting trust.  It took well over a billion dollars to make SSL what
it is, and that's a lot of someone else's taxes being invested in the
"public interest".

Now, some folks here will surely be invited to be written into the world of
official secrets; just like all the other teams with alternative solutions.
They will be required (and will presumably be wanting to voluntarily)
protect the public interest - becoming that special elite if you will. Its
exciting to play James Bond, with direct phone line to M! 

I explored the notion of "public interest" (or "public trust") earlier,
here, when seeking to revoke an infamous SSL cert. It explored how all the
fine print in the CA world embodies the preparations for the "rainy day,"
when it's called upon to be exploited. The CA that is NOT revoking the cert
is probably under covert instruction, and not employing the kill switch ("in
the public interest").

So, how do we deal with it? Its coming, like it or not, discussed or not,
addressed openly (American style) or in closed groups (British style).
Obviously, I'm not in the group, of any style! It doesn't take long for me
to smell out who is, though. I cannot believe that W3C's inner circle isn't
well versed in this, given what I remember about interactions with Clinton
Whitehouse folks in the P3P era.

Now, I've dealt with this for 20 years personally, while participating in
open standards. I've done it while speaking from government email addresses,
and while not. We need to create a framework in which folks can live
alongside each other. You of the inner circle ilk can feel comfy being
written in (and specially trusted to be on the side of the good guys), and I
can feel comfy watching you and reporting  suspicions of "technical
manipulation", quite publicly. You can label me the bad guy (because I'm
inherently suspicious, not being written in). The Good Standing rule exists
to shut me up... if the openness itself becomes a threat to the good order
of the working party.
Now, that's my attempt to consolidate 20 years experience in finding a
political scheme that works, allowing the intractable trust topic that
exists JUST WITHIN the process ....to find working compromises that go on to
allows the likes of SSL's RSA crypto to go from suppressed munition to core
economic enabler, in only a decade. 

What I've found is that if the "experts (*)" from the 2 sides of the secrets
world have learned to co-exist when formulating the spec, then the wider
world will be well set to exploit how that co-existence got written in (pun)
to the design of the technical solution. It seems that the mechanisms the
team formulated to dealing with innate conflicts of the public trust issue
within the design process "express" in the technology solution, thus
manifesting a viable design on the same trust issue at scale - when a
billion people then use the end product.

(*) using the expert label as a cast, applied to anyone with an
implementation, is an example of "viable" politics; the use of form (as
lawyers say) to represent an ethic that cannot be codified (or for which
codification is counter-productive). The point is that ...it works, as do
lots of other similar ceremonies and rituals when underpinning the
essentially polymorhpic notion of "public trust". My university called this
philosophy utilitarian-ism, if anyone cares about such personal trivia.

-----Original Message-----
From: Nathan [mailto:nathan at webr3.org] 
Sent: Friday, December 17, 2010 1:02 AM
To: peter williams
Cc: 'Melvin Carvalho'; 'Henry Story'; foaf-protocols at lists.foaf-project.org
Subject: Re: [foaf-protocols] new WebID Charter draft

Hi Peter,

> On 17 December 2010 02:46, peter williams <home_pw at msn.com> wrote:
>> Any vendor not already a W3C member, that can demonstrate an 
>> implementation, can get cast as an expert.

As far as I'm aware this is already the case, doing an implementation
(complete or not), or being an expert in one of the technologies, coupled
with the willingness to be involved and active within the group is, afaik,
what it takes be accepted as an invited expert, whether you ask to join or
are invited.

Also, IIRC process has been loosened recently so that it's easier for
experts from one group to join other groups.

Personally I've found the W3C very open and inclusive on a number of
occasions, being an invited expert myself, I'm sure many others here like
Toby, Melvin and Henry will all say the same.

That is, what you say above, is pretty much already the case :)



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