[Wg-uma] Comments on today's conversation

Maciej Machulak m.p.machulak at newcastle.ac.uk
Thu Aug 27 11:24:28 PDT 2009

Hi all,

At first, sincere apologies for not being able to contribute to today's conversation. Not only I had problems with connecting to the conf call, but the connection quality turned out to be extremely bad as well. 

I would like to add or simply comment on few things that I was able to hear during the call :)

Eve raised a question about a user delegating access control to multiple AM (part of resources protected by AM #1, part of resources protected by AM #2). I wanted to fully agree with Paul that the ProtectServe protocol does not restrict that. As discussed, this may be a not-so-popular deployment scenario. It is purely implementation specific and depends on how the SP adopts UMA. It will definitely result in much more complex application code. 

I do think that there are certain scenarios which will require an application to be able to use decisions from multiple AM as multiple entities may be interested in controlling access to the same set of resources. This, however, may be achieved through an application delegating access to a single AM which will be controlled by multiple entities or by an application delegating access control to multiple AM. In both cases, I think that this may be of interest in certain cases.

Paul mentioned access control policies and how they are used by a User to protect their resources. If I recall correctly, a User would be able to log into an AM and define those policies. AM would need a way of getting the list of resources from a SP. 

I think the case in defining access control policies is that a user logs into a SP and decides to apply a security to a resource by clicking a 'Access Control' -like link. Then the application would simply communicate the resource (or a set of resources) with its supported operations to the AM. It might be up to the application how to identify those resources and what are the supported operations. A User is then able to compose a policy at the AM side - the AM already has all the knowledge necessary for the policy composition process (info about the application that hosts this resource, a unique ID of this resource, resource's supported operations). Policies and the policy composition process is out of scope to the protocol. I'm not sure if those things were discussed or not (as I mentioned, I had to reconnect few times) but I think that it's important to discuss (1) how operations are passed from SP to AM and (2) how an SP can uniquely identify a resource in an application independent way. The second thing may be of particular interest if resources are moved between Web applications. 

3) I would like to fully agree with Paul on the issue of users vs services being consumers of resources. It is always an application accessing a resource, be it a service or a user agent (e.g. a Web browser) and there should be a strong separation between our access control approach and authentication.

Apologies if those things have been discussed or if they deviate from the core discussion. I'd appreciate comments.

Hope to be able to contribute verbally during the next conference call :-)

Kind regards,
Maciej Machulak

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