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Subject: RE: [security-services] NameIdentifier proposed change (Sun L3 comment)

> From: Eve L. Maler [mailto:eve.maler@sun.com]

> L3. Make NameIdentifier non-empty
> NameIdentifier and its type (Section add up to an empty
> element.  Given our distaste for attributes in general, it seems
> better for NameIdentifier to use element content for its "main"
> purpose (e.g., what's currently in its Name attribute).
> Here's the way it would look in the instance:
>    <NameIdentifier 
> SecurityDomain="example.com">joeuser</NameIdentifier>
> Here is the proposed change to the schema:
> <complexType name="NameIdentifierType">
>    <simpleContent>
>      <extension base="string">
>        <attribute name="SecurityDomain" type="string"/>
>      </extension>
>    </simpleContent>
> </complexType>

I like this change, but there's one thing that I think needs discussion.
Currently, the SecurityDomain attribute is optional. I see two

(1) Change it to <attribute name="SecurityDomain" type="string"

(2) Explicitly describe how relying parties are expected to interpret a
missing SecurityDomain.

I'm a little bit inclined toward (2), but I'm not sure we could come up with
an interpretation that satisfies everyone.

The simplest approach would be to say that if SecurityDomain is not
specified, RPs should interpret as SecurityDomain == Issuer.

Another approach would be to say that RPs should base their policy on the
Issuer, and just use SecurityDomain to further qualify names. However, that
makes it difficult to do multiple Issuers producing assertions about
overlapping sets of SecurityDomains (i.e. RP trusts Issuer1 to assert about
Domain1 and SharedDomain, and trusts Issuer2 to assert about Domain2 and

Can anyone think of another alternative, or have an opinion about which of
these are preferred?

 - irving -

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