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electricity (was Re: Out on a loop)


At 11:24 PM 12/9/97 -0200, Ed Gerck wrote:
>However, unlike an electric model where electrons must follow a loop
>because of perfect charge conservation, information such as contained in
>trust relationships is not conserved (thank God and the Internet) and
>there is no sense in pursuing this example to require for a return
>connection between verifier and subject or verifier and issuer. Internet
>trust computation is not analogous to an electrical circuit because the
>unit of information on trust can be consumed or produced at will, unlike
>the eletrical unit of charge. So, your example of battery and ammeter is
>flawed on two counts: it does not allow for high-to-low impedance transfer
>with source isolation (as a transistor does) and predicates perfect charge

We are not trying to establish trustworthiness in our trust computations.  
Rather, we issue authorizations -- permissions -- and sometimes the 
permission to delegate those permissions.  We make those decisions based on 
whether an entity has that authority, not based on whether it is 
trustworthy.  In some sad cases, we will have to delegate some authorization 
to an entity we have determined to be untrustworthy.  [cf., Dilbert]

The certificate loop reduction process results in a reduced authorization of 
the form:

<self, requester, --, auth, validity_period> in which we have determined 
that a given requesting principal has the authorization we delegated to it 
(through some intermediaries, most likely).  This is the result of an 
injection of authorization coming from us, the verifier, and passing through 
cert chains and coming back to us (possibly attenuated).  The closest I can 
come to an appropriate analogy for that is electric current.  I'm sorry if
the analogy isn't exact.

 - Carl

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