[foaf-protocols] webid group said... something interesting

peter williams home_pw at msn.com
Tue Mar 22 17:34:14 CET 2011

Take away from the webid group call.


It's pointless talking about the letters rdf in a browser group (opera
excepted), as folks are still scarred by wars over a decade ago.


RDFa is "just about" a discussable topic - because its rendered like HTML
and works with today's browsers. It doesn't set the pulse racing, and eyes


W3C is no longer formally agnostic about certs and ssl (while actually being
quietly subversive); it has taken a position in the mainstream. It's still
looking for its mission in that mainstream. Webid and others have indicated
there is now a webby position to be had - distinct from the usual IETF, PKI,
identity management groups.


Techniques like webid can offend certain camps (e.g. OCSP) as they invade
the space (turf wars) by unsettling that which certain camps thought settled
(only CAs can issue validation statements about certs).


Webid does have one message that resonates with W3C culture - its focus on
individuals (and self-assertions, UCI etc) - a space vacated by the openid
folks once they went  corporate (having failed to make the right pitch to
individuals, given XRD/XRI). W3C can thus speak for the little guys in some
sense, globally, attempting to find a balance between individuals and
corporate interests. At least individuals have a space to have a say (unlike
most corporate security spaces)


W3C has long history in privacy and signatures (e.g. p3p) which shows a
"policy" acumen. This has not translated however into comprehensive family
of related standards, that bridge the security policy and global security
practices where W3C has shown strong capabilities.


W3C recognizes that it doesn't need to do what IETF or Kantara does, or have
formal positions on the US national id program - as it must retain a non-US
centric position - being a global movement. This is going to be hard to
execute (since 95% of the initiatives are US.led, having comprehensive
funding and the dominant market).







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