[foaf-protocols] FW: [ABA-IDM-TASK-FORCE] Kantara slides from Jan 29

Peter Williams home_pw at msn.com
Sat Jan 30 22:10:07 CET 2010

Having been around the block a few times on this topic over 20 years, I'm a
little skeptical of the Kantara folks initiative. But, it's just skepticism
- something that promotes intellectual health (in European science
communities, anyways).

The thesis of Kantara presumes a social control model - one that is
expressed through technical and legal hookups. These require the consumer be
made into a mere "subscriber", legally. A subscriber is a necessarily
"managed" entity, one subject to the "recording" doctrine. The dogmatic
element of that says: that only when intermediated by "trustworthy parties"
can the subscriber get a safe, single, ubiquitous experience from the web.
Then, society can adopt and trust the gestalt BECAUSE there are assured
records of everything  "out there" - that facilitate later audit,
accountability, dispute resolution and of course the endless posturing and
rhetoric that drives the political process forward (to be fair to lawyers).

AS I say, there is nothing evil about the contention for how society OUGHT
to be organized; it's the very traditional service factor model (which tends
to feed folks), and it's how imperial organizations have run multinational
empires in the W for the last 500 years. In politics, we would call it the
"party system" (that give embodiment to folks general persuasions (a bit
left, or a bit right) as society swings around the middle ground pole ever
20 years). Relevant to Crypto, Kantara simply represents the conservative
wing of the PKI movement, that believes that "trusted third parties" MUST
intermediate people to commerce (so society is "holistically" protected
against whatever generic evils are being peddled on the day of sale). Until
1965, folks sold religion on the same pretext. Fear based sale of security
DOES generate consensus - albeit a manufactured and ultimately false
political consensus.

But this I where the web gets interesting , and WHY the FOAF and FOAF+SL
model MAY  be a good "study model" for a future internet - one that is NOT
merely a continuation of 100 year old successful economic practices for huge
populations. If W3C were to lead a funding bid on that NSF grant, I think
after learning from you lot a little more about wht E3C is all about Id be
willing participate (in a way I would not, if say one went cap in hand to
the MACE/internet2 organization -  which is obviously the thing that those
funds are really allocated for).

The web due to W3C (and this harkens back to the Marxist philosophy
discussion of a thread of two ago) has a certain edgeiness to it - one  that
is a little Caesarian in nature, and one that I like. It evidently retains
the ability to appeal to and communicate directly with the plebs - something
that is usually VERY threatening to the folks heavily invested in the
party/intermediary model. Since Ceasar got stabbed 2000 years ago, the
relevant issues are obviously not that new.

Depending where the allegiance of the NSF funding agency folk are, they
would either see W3C and the web as an implicit threat to established order
and THEREFORE something that COULD engender a big shift in internet
thinking; or its something that they would want to avoid (so funding a nice
conservative thinktank with predicable outputs that can be "trusted" not to
overturn the boat).

To bother or not bother with that NSF funding request, you need to meet the
evaluators. Go see where their heads are. Pointless building a coherent and
credible organizational response (led by some prime) and the spending of
effort on making a creditable 20 page proposal - if it "response" style does
not fit "in spirit" the mission of the funding authorities. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Kingsley Idehen [mailto:kidehen at openlinksw.com] 
Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2010 10:44 AM
To: Peter Williams
Cc: foaf-protocols at lists.foaf-project.org
Subject: Re: [foaf-protocols] FW: [ABA-IDM-TASK-FORCE] Kantara slides from
Jan 29

Peter Williams wrote:
> We discussed trust, reliance and governance recently. Folks asked for
> etc - so as to understand the underlying notions and then the concepts
> have formulated (and why *those* structures)?
> You can see in the attached (excellent) presentation the notion of
> "governance" all laid out, in pictures. It shows several of the concepts.
> You will notice that the user is hardly mentioned. But, s/he is the
> "beneficiary".
> Now, there is nothing evil about this. It's only what underlay the PKI
> vision for nationally-regulated and insured CAs issuing client certs. (it
> was all setup to be a PriceWaterhouse Coopers managed trust fabric in the
> UK, for example). 
> In my view, it's a (valid) rehash of the apparatus that was developed for
> that PKI model of CAs (that largely failed to take root in the late 90s).
> The dotcom bubble eliminated what momentum there was. Since then, models
> self-assertion (self-signed SSL, ws-trust, infocard and now FOAF-SSL) have
> matured, in the gap. In enterprise windows networks, certs are all
> auto-issued these days, built into about 100 protocols pretty
> The real crux for me when considering the applicability of "governance
> regimes" that "regulate the web" is: what happens AFTER the sexy, initial
> benefits of all that governance have occurred?
> If the user and RP can then dump the "introductions" and opt out from the
> intermediatiation, I see little problem with the governance apparatus. An
> advanced form of "discovery", it  "connects" folks initially and "brokers"
> the trust requirements in an environment of  mutually suspicion. Id even
> a one-time fee, for that (or put up with ads, for 1 month).
> If the user and RP continue to be governed and cannot "OPT OUT", then it
> gets harder to trade off its benefits with the downsides of the "loss of
> autonomy". The data portability issues come to the fore.
> If one uses a facebook analogy, having benefitted from their ability to
> and connect folks, they wanted rights to your network (to sell targeted
> to your network - that recoup the cost of all that discovery and then
> from the new value it delivered to you).
> Debates of course raged over who owned the collation of facts about "your"
> network; with legal restrictions being applied by the asserting owner
> (facebook) concerning what you MAY do with your (not your) contact list,
> once you no longer seek the services of Facebook.
> The topic of governance is basically the Faustian bargain story; and the
> dilemmas are the same as in that tale. They are only the same however if
> accepts the assumptions of the devils logic though (that of course
> pre-structure the conversation itself so the devil wins in any outcome,
> including no outcome).
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Federated Identity Management Task Force Discussion
> [mailto:BL-FIDM at MAIL.ABANET.ORG] On Behalf Of Brett McDowell
> Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2010 4:49 AM
> Subject: [ABA-IDM-TASK-FORCE] Kantara slides from Jan 29
> Attached is a PDF of the slides I presented yesterday.
> -- Brett
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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> foaf-protocols mailing list
> foaf-protocols at lists.foaf-project.org
> http://lists.foaf-project.org/mailman/listinfo/foaf-protocols

Nice stuff!

I really the time is ripe for a co-authored presentation (we can use 
Google Docs or some other facility) re. Federated Identity and FOAF+SSL, 
something that builds on Henry's initial presentation.

HTTP fixed Open Data Access via Linked Data. Now lets show how it fixes 
Federated Identity (the biggest headache of all).



Kingsley Idehen	      
President & CEO 
OpenLink Software     
Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
Twitter: kidehen 

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