Articles about SOA, the Web, Utility Computing, etc.
Facebook's latest privacy debacle was driven by their failure to properly manage user IDs. This is not a new problem area and as the EFF points out, Facebook has done this before. So while I don't know if Facebook will be interested in this post, those who care about protecting their user's privacy in an age of data sharing may want to have a look at the threats and defenses needed to share user IDs across sites. Securing user IDs isn't easy.
[Update 10/22/2010: Changed the title and intro and added three new sections at the end.]Read More
Part of my day job is working on adding discovery to OAuth 2.0. This article provides a summary of some of that work. So I was more than a little concerned when I saw a blog article from Eran Hammer-Lahav, the editor of OAuth 2.0, asserting that OAuth 2.0 couldn't support secure discovery. Very worried that something was terribly wrong I carefully read Eran's article. I summarize below what I believe his concerns are and explain how I believe those concerns would be addressed by extensions to OAuth 2.0 to support discovery. I also explain how Eran's article helped me find a flaw in my own proposal and how I propose fixing that flaw.Read More
OAuth enables a very simple type of delegation, a user can delegate permissions between two services that they have accounts on. In other words, OAuth lets a user delegate permission to themself. But full delegation allows arbitrary users of arbitrary services to give permissions to each other. In this article I summarize the two key extensions to OAuth needed to enable it to do full delegation. The first is ’on behalf of’ (e.g. a service saying ”I am making this request on behalf of user X”) and the second is a very simple directory service. The rest of the article tries to use something like plain English to explain how these features could work in OAuth. Read More
Having a finger service as a directory to find information about users and services appears to be absolutely necessary if ad-hoc information sharing between people and services is to be possible. But just having a way to finger a person or service is less than 1/2 the battle. The real challenge is making it possible for services to update their user’s finger information in an ad-hoc manner. I explore the issues around dynamic finger update in this article. Read More
The OpenID community has worked long and hard to make ad-hoc logins possible on the web. Part of that process has been experiments with a number of different technologies and approaches. Below I make my own proposal for how to handle ad-hoc logins on the Internet using OAuth WRAP and my own spin on Finger. I offer this up as food for thought. Read More
Those folks of a certain age will remember the finger command/protocol which allowed one to look up information about a person based just on their login identifier. This command was extremely useful even if it had some troubling security and privacy implications. Efforts are underway to create a Web Finger but for reasons I’ve previously discussed I think the underlying technologies for those efforts are sub-optimal. So in this article I propose what I think is a much simpler approach. My motivation for caring is that I think having a finger service will make permissioning systems much more useful (see here and here). Read More
In a previous article I talked about adding a profile to OAuth WRAP that would enable users to ask for or grant permissions to each other. In this article I show that an OAuth WRAP profile to handle granting permissions only needs two request/response pairs. I then show that an OAuth WRAP profile to handle asking for permissions only needs one additional exchange. Read More