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intelligent searches

>Subject: RE: Any more comments on the whois++ SPKI proposalette?

At 10:10 PM 4/22/96 -0400, Jeff Allen wrote:

>I may be searching for the most recent version of a key for a
>colleague (to refresh a key I hold that is expired, maybe). In that
>case, I need to search on some relatively unique parts of the key I
>have, in order to find a fresher one (I'd imagine searching on "name"
>and "key-fingerprint" ought to be enough). It might even be
>possible/useful to search on other attributes. I can see a potential
>use for queries like, "Show me all keys in the repository that belong
>to banks willing to handle a transaction of size $X".

I think this is a wonderful idea...and probably quite relevant for the SPKI

I think there are different threads under the label SPKI.  I've been
concentrating on the nature of the certificate itself, making it useful [as
well as simple and efficient] for applications needing it.  What you're
describing is the database and search engine for a central repository for
data -- with implications for the data to be included in a Meaning statement
[e.g., "I'm able to handle transactions up to $5M"].

>If you choose the right technology for your repository, it can be
>distributed, etc, making all of these searches scale to the global
>scale, if necessary. And, of course, _I'll_ tell you that's
>Whois++. :) It can be anything, really, including future services like
>the e-mail-based PGP keyservers in use today. Whatever system you use
>will be useless unless there are parts of the key that are searchable.

I'm torn by this example/thread.  If we assume we're all on the net, then we
can each store our own certificates (with mirrors as desired for fault
tolerance) and we get a massive, distributed database without creating
anything that calls itself a Certification Authority or anything that looks
like X.500.  Those are goodnesses, IMHO.

On the other hand, my distributed net-wide database doesn't have any
intelligence attached for doing searches the way a relational DB can.

Is it possible to have an AltaVista solution?  ...that is, to have the certs
stored in a loose web of URLs across the world while some enterprising
engine company sets up shop to do intelligent searches?

 - Carl

|Carl M. Ellison          cme@cybercash.com   http://www.clark.net/pub/cme |
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