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Subject: RE: [ebxml-msg] Pull, MPC, authorization
> But if two PModes use the same MPC value and both have a Pull transport channel binding,
> then a Pull request can be ambiguous between two PModes
In multi-hop intermediaries, we described the use of “sub-channels” as a way to authorize differently the pulling from different Receivers against the same MPC. So when the MSH pulled from is an “intermediary”, this allows to disambiguate the Pull requests. This assumes the Intermediary is configured so that it can authorize Pull requests selectively (based on contained credentials) and associate each with the appropriate sub-channel.
In AS4, this capability is extended to the Sending MSH (no need to be an “intermediary” as in multi-hop) as an “additional feature”.
Can you be more specific as to what is still amiss here for your use case? (of course, this so far is only described in Part 2 and AS4 profile, not in the core spec.)
Some comments on Pull, MPC, authorization
In ebMS 3.0 there are two situations where messages can be pulled:
1) As defined in the ebMS 3.0 Core specification from a sending MSH, for messages where the PMode specifies a "Pull" transport channel binding. The sending MSH is configured using deployed processing modes.
2) As defined in the ebMS 3.0 Part 2 advanced features, for intermediaries acting in forwarding roles that can (and are configured to) store messages, leaving the initiative for a next hop transmission to the next MSH. Configuration of these intermediaries does not require a full PMode set.
In a general Web server context, some Web servers use HTTP authentication to map an HTTP get request to a dynamically selected resource. E.g. a GET request to http://example.com/users could map Alice to her home directory on that server and Bob to his. Section 3.4.1 of the Core Spec defines the MPC concept as a way of partitioning message sets in specific sets with named identifiers. It does not mention the concept of associating messages within an MPC with a particular user. In fact, it specifically suggests any filtering of messaging on criteria other than MPC identifier is out of scope for the Core Specification (we slightly enhanced this in Part 2). An ebMS 3.0 Pull request is posted to a particular URI_1 and contains a reference to an MPC URI_2. Here, URI_1 is like http://example.com/users and the request specifies a particular MPC URI_2 to access. If there were a dynamic resource selection based on requesting user, then it would not be necessary to specify a particular MPC in the request. The server could assign messages to users and map pull requests to user-based partitions. There is no mentioning of mapping any additional mapping to a subset of messages in MPC URI_2 in this section.
Chapter 7.10 of the Core Specification states:
"Since any resource a message may claim access to is identified by the P-Mode associated with the message, this is equivalent to authorizing the association of the message with the P-Mode"
But if two PModes use the same MPC value and both have a Pull transport channel binding, then a Pull request can be ambiguous between two PModes.
It also states:
"This Pull signal can effect message delivery from MPC "http://msh.example.com/mpc123" only if its credentials match the authorization parameters of at least one P-Mode associated with pulling messages on this MPC"
One approach apparently taken in one implementation is to classify messages within an MPC with the authorization username/password (or other token) specified in the PMode they were submitted with, and map requests to subsets based on username.
This solution is problematic in the multi-hop situation, intermediaries may not know which PMode a message was assigned to (the pmode message attribute is optional) by the original sender and there is no association of a message with any "user" specified in the original PMode. If messages are forwarded from MSH1 to intermediary MSH2, then the further partitioning in user subsets is lost. Only the MPC identifier is part of the message and as such carried along with the message in the I-Cloud.
It would much simpler for a product to have support two separate configurations: PModes (which may specify "pull" and name a particular MPC) and pull MPCs for a particular URI (which specify MPC identifier and authorization information). Since the Core Spec defines the authorization information as PMode parameters, the authorization parameters for distinct PModes with the same MPC and a "pull" channel binding should then be the same.