Archive for 'ProtectServe'

A new identity relationship

I’ve been writing on this blog about identity and relationships for a long time (some samples…). Now I’ve forged (see what I did there?) a new relationship, and have joined ForgeRock’s Office of the CTO. Check out my first post on the ForgeRock blog. I’m really psyched about this company and my new opportunities to make cool Identity Relationship Management progress there. And I’ve found a lot of fellow rock ‘n’ rollers and Scotch drinkers in residence too — apparently that’s something of a job requirement for me, as many of my dear friends and erstwhile colleagues at Forrester have similar habits!

My new blogging goal is to add some pointers here to my ForgeRock posts, and — hopefully — to blog here more often than I had been in recent years. (Maybe some fresh nutrition-blogging?)

See the icons in the About Me section to the right. If you’re an old friend, stay in touch, and if we haven’t met yet, you can use the links to see about forging a new online relationship.

New: Modern authorization systems and XACML

Over on the Forrester blogs, I take a look at XACML, advocating that it needs to refactor heavily to meet mobile/cloud authorization policy needs. UMA as a potential enterprise “access management 2.0″ solution makes an appearance as well. Quoting the post: “Would an XACML.next that concentrates on ‘growing the pie’ for declarative authorization policy be valuable? Would an integration of web and post-web access management help you achieve your goals?” If you have thoughts on this, check out the post and let me know…

Consensual impersonation is delegation done very wrong

I’ve got a new post up on the Forrester blogs about “consensual impersonation”, which is what happens when you give your password to someone else so they can do something from your account. As Paul Madsen points out, it’s “another manifestation of the password anti-pattern”, and it’s a use case whose legitimacy — at least some of the time — we haven’t really thought about. Head over there to see if I manage to avoid mentioning UMA. (Hint…)

New post: Venn of access control for the API economy

Up on the Forrester blogs, I present a new Venn diagram that compares OAuth, OpenID Connect, and UMA. A number of people contributed to the final form of this one, which we presented in a Google Tech Talk a couple of weeks back. Thanks to all of the following folks (listed in no particular order) for their feedback!

By the way, we’ve got another UMA Twitter chat coming up this Wednesday morning at 9am Pacific. For details, visit http://tinyurl.com/umachat. Spread the word, join us, and get all your questions answered…

How UMA deals with scopes and authorization

The UMA group has been quite busy of late. Like several other efforts (don’t miss John Bradley’s OpenID ABC post or anything Mike Jones has been blogging in the last few months), we’ve been gearing up for IIW 12 as a great place to try out our newest work, figure out the combinatorial possibilities with all the other new stuff going on, and get feedback.

Newcastle University’s SMART project team will be in Mountain View again, discussing their UMA implementation and UX work. And vice-chair Maciej Machulak and I plan to convene a session to share our draft solution for loosely coupling an OAuth authorization server and resource server to solve for externalized authorization and interoperable scoped access in the UMA context.

Back in February, a bunch of us tried discussing this very subject in Twitter and got pretty far, but it took Paul Madsen to put the whole story together in his blog post Way more than 140. And loving it. Check it out.

Essentially, UMA is choosing to give the host (resource server) more autonomy than it would typically have in a tightly coupled environment, so that it’s not entirely accurate to say it’s a mere policy enforcement point (PEP) and the authorization manager (authz server) is a full policy decision point (PDP). This seems to make good sense in a totally open-Web environment. However, “the full PDP” is an optional feature we could probably add if there’s interest.

The really interesting thing is that, to make externalized authorization work, we’ve had to go “radically claims-based”. The model seems very powerful and generative — it gives the power to upgrade and downgrade granted scopes at will! But it does take a step or two back from pure OAuth 2.0 as a result. This is something I’m keen to discuss with folks in and around IIW; we’ll be presenting these slides to that end.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I’ve just made a big change, joining Forrester Research as a Principal Analyst, and this new adventure is sure to be exciting. It’s an honor to join this stellar organization and work with so many talented folks. I’ll be serving security and risk professionals and will focus primarily on identity and access management, so this move feels like a natural outgrowth of work I’ve been involved in for more than ten years now.

My tenure at PayPal was a great learning experience; I’ll never forget my time there, nor the good friends I made. I also managed to learn a few things while “catching up on life” in the few weeks between gigs. Here are some questions folks have been asking me, with answers:

Q: Are you moving back to the east coast?

A: Nope, I’m still based in the Pacific Northwest, but I will likely be out Boston-way somewhat more often. As for other appearances, you’ll definitely be able to find me at Forrester’s IT Forum 2011 in May, and I’ll be figuring out the situation with other events shortly.

Q: Will you continue to blog here?

A: Yes, though the mix of topics will likely change, as I’ll be contributing industry-related posts to the Forrester blog. I’ll post pointers to those here, and my hope is to step up my writing activity on other topics of interest at Pushing String. And I hope you’ll continue to follow my doings at @xmlgrrl (where the #forrester tag will likely make lots of appearances).

Q: What about User-Managed Access and other innovation-oriented work?

A: The plan is for me to continue in my role as “chief UMAnitarian” and to participate in certain other tech leadership activities as time allows. In the last couple of months we’ve gotten a big influx of active UMA contributors, and we’ve had a burst of progress in the last few weeks on defining how to loosely couple “user-centric” policy enforcement points and policy decision points. So I think we’re well on our way to meeting the goals and timing stated in our charter.

Q: So what did you do on your winter vacation?

A: One of my goals was to “learn one big thing”, so I started learning how to play guitar, under the tutelage of my dear old friend Rich. My original use cases were around communicating better with my Mud Junket bandmates who are actual guitarists, but Rich doesn’t fool around: I have to learn good technique and not take any shortcuts. Luckily, the fret-hand callus crop has finally started to come in.

I also read a great book called The Talent Code, which describes what goes on neurologically in people who seem like once-in-a-lifetime geniuses, and discusses how any skill (like guitar-playing!) can be honed more rapidly through “deep practice” that stimulates myelin growth.

With all this plus a healthy dose of R&R, it feels like I’m learning how to learn all over again.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, user-managed new year

UMA Christmas tree 2010

Thanks to Domenico Catalano (@DomCat) for putting together this lovely and geeky holiday message! And thanks to all the UMAnitarians for their contributions of passion, business problem-solving, and technical know-how to the User-Managed Access work.

The end of 2010 has brought new progress on several fronts. The UMA-friendly Java-based OAuth leeloo implementation was released as open source; we’ve begun solving some hard problems in defining interoperable interfaces between OAuth authorization servers and resource servers; we’ve been teasing out the implications of trusted claims as the basis for user-centric access control; and we saw two significant submissions in response to the UMA validation bounty program. We’re grateful to submitters Cordny Nederkoorn, whose interest in UMA grew as a result of his explorations into cloud identity, and Project hData, a unique and important effort that seeks to make electronic health data amenable to RESTful web app treatment.

We’ve got lots more developments in store for the coming months, and we welcome your involvement. From our Kantara home page you can join the group (no membership fees!), subscribe to our mailing list, and check out the latest news, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Happy holidays!

People and online services: leaving value on the table

The recent Google-Facebook flap demonstrates that the hottest battleground for users’ control of the data they pump into these online services is the sites’ Terms of Service. Why? Because when you’re not a paying customer, you’re not in a hugely strong bargaining position. As I put it to ReadWriteWeb in their piece on data portability implications of the debate: Facebook’s end-users are not its customers; they’re the product. (Or as my Data Without Borders pal Steve Greenberg sometimes puts it, users are crops…getting harvested. Oh dear.)

For all “free” online services, it’s worthwhile to ask: What am I paying instead? If it’s not money, is it attention to ads? …behavioral cues about myself and my preferences? …personally identifiable data? …beta-testing time? …what, exactly? Payment for services rendered isn’t a bad thing. But it’s always something, and you might as well not be a chump.

That’s why I like Frank Catalano’s new TechFlash post viewing personal data sharing through an economic lens and discussing how to barter your data more equitably. Regarding his second point, “hide”: I’d actually be thrilled if more online services that were marketed to individuals offered a premium for-pay option; it would keep out the riff-raff and give people more meaningful control over their relationships with the companies offering the services.

It’s not just individuals who are leaving something on the table, though. I think there’s a big untapped market in selective sharing, which is like “privacy” (poor abused word), without the assumption that minimal disclosure is the be-all and end-all. What would you start sharing with a selective set of people and businesses, if you could have confidence that your expectations around context, control, choice, and respect would be met?

That’s why I think Dave McClure has it right with his notion of intimacy as a market opportunity Facebook currently has no idea how to address. (“maybe I only want to tell a few close buddies about that episode with the VERY BAD bean burrito” — yeah, thanks for keeping this sharing episode VERY selective. :-)

And that’s why I think Esther Dyson doesn’t quite have it right in saying privacy is a marketing problem. Her exhortation to “Know your customer, and talk to that person as an individual, not as someone in a bucket” has a natural barrier: Facebook and others are serving their actual customers very well indeed by, uh, making more product.

And that’s why I think User-Managed Access could help: Becoming paying customers of services that need our data is good. But becoming, in addition, producers of data products as peers in a selective data-sharing network, and dictating our own Terms of Access for getting to them, is even better.

UMA validator bounty program announced

Are you a software developer or tester? You might be interested in the new $4000 bounty program just announced by the Kantara Initiative for:

Develop[ing] material that assists in validating the compliance of implemented authorization manager, host, requester, and authorizing user/user agent endpoints to the UMA draft specifications (and their referenced external specifications).

The first deadline, to express submission interest, is November 1 — which happens to be the day we’re hosting a F2F meeting just ahead of IIW.

You can keep an eye on the status of the program at its dedicated UMA wiki page.

UMA meeting co-located with IIW and other news

Thanks to Phil and Kaliya and the gang, I’m happy to say we’re holding an UMA face-to-face meeting at the Computer History Museum on the Monday just prior to IIW XI (pronounced “yewksie”?).

This follows close on the heels of a face-to-face in Paris at the Kantara conference, so I hope we’ll be able to crank through a lot of work in the next few weeks. What work, you ask? We’re shooting for draft completion of some key items in the upper box shown here (click to get to a full-size site-mapped version on our Working Drafts page):

I’ve already gotten several requests for more info about the IIW meeting. These will be working meetings, not public transfer-of-information workshops, and we always welcome new participation. You can become a participant (voting/frequently attending or non-voting/attend at will, totally up to you) by filling out this form. I’ve put up some very preliminary agendas (Paris, Mtn View); they tend to be responsive to work done in weeks prior, so check back.

(UPDATE: There’s no formal registration process for the IIW meeting as long as you’re already signed up as an UMA participant; just send me an RSVP. Contact info is under my Welcome section in the right sidebar.)


Did you know our Newcastle University UMAnitarians have begun open-sourcing their Java implementation? The first big piece from the SMART Project covers UMA-friendly OAuth 2.0 and has the lovely name leeloo. They promise more to come soon, and I bet we’ll see some swank demos at IIW. Check it out!