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Subject: Re: [security-services] Days late and dollars short,comments on "entity" terminology

Only editorial geeks should read this one. :-)  Since this snippet of 
wording focuses on authorization decision assertions, whose 
functionality we've frozen, it may not even matter in the big scheme of 
things.  But just as an intellectual exercise...

Scott Cantor wrote:
>>SAML authority:
>>***, 1448-1449: would be better as asserting party, as it
>>is paired with relying party
> Agree.

Actually, in trying to implement this one, I'm not satisfied with the 
change.  The original is:

"Providing an assertion as evidence MAY affect the reliance agreement 
between the SAML relying party and the SAML authority making the 
authorization decision. For example, in the case that the SAML relying 
party presented an assertion to the SAML authority in a request, the 
SAML authority MAY use that assertion as evidence in making its 
authorization decision without endorsing the <Evidence> element’s 
assertion as valid either to the relying party or any other third party."

Clearly a "reliance agreement" involves a relying party, so that mention 
is fair.  But the authoritativeness of the SAML authority comes in 
fairly too.  And then we get a mention of an assertion that came in the 
request, legitimizing requester/responder language.  So on balance I'd 
keep the mentions of relying party, SAML authority, and requester as 
they are even though it seems like a hodge-podge.

However, I have to admit that I'm not sure in what sense the second 
sentence is actually an example of affecting the "reliance agreement" (a 
term that appears nowhere else).  If what is meant is that the relying 
party should not rely on assertions provided as evidence even if they 
came from the relying party in the original request, the following 
wording would be better:

"No endorsement of validity by the SAML authority should [note 
lowercase] be inferred for any assertions or references to assertions 
provided as evidence in an authorization decision.  For example, an 
assertion that was provided in an authorization decision request might 
be duplicated in the decision as evidence, without any intervening 
validity-checking process."

I don't believe this suggested wording changes any conformance 
parameters because the original MAYs were not exactly on target for 
their purpose.  If there's an outpouring of support for this change, I 
can make it.

Otherwise, never mind!

Eve Maler                                        +1 781 442 3190
Sun Microsystems                            cell +1 781 354 9441
Web Products, Technologies, and Standards    eve.maler @ sun.com

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