Re: [OAUTH-WG] Namespacing "type" in RAR

Brian Campbell <> Fri, 24 July 2020 21:55 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost (localhost []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id AD0D63A0D4B for <>; Fri, 24 Jul 2020 14:55:36 -0700 (PDT)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: -0.099
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-0.099 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[BAYES_00=-1.9, DKIM_SIGNED=0.1, DKIM_VALID=-0.1, DKIM_VALID_AU=-0.1, DKIM_VALID_EF=-0.1, HTML_MESSAGE=0.001, PDS_OTHER_BAD_TLD=1.999, SPF_HELO_NONE=0.001, SPF_PASS=-0.001, URIBL_BLOCKED=0.001] autolearn=no autolearn_force=no
Authentication-Results: (amavisd-new); dkim=pass (2048-bit key)
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id wjU74wmD--Zo for <>; Fri, 24 Jul 2020 14:55:33 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from ( [IPv6:2a00:1450:4864:20::12f]) (using TLSv1.2 with cipher ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 (128/128 bits)) (No client certificate requested) by (Postfix) with ESMTPS id 0C6A63A0D4E for <>; Fri, 24 Jul 2020 14:55:33 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by with SMTP id h8so5951839lfp.9 for <>; Fri, 24 Jul 2020 14:55:32 -0700 (PDT)
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=google; h=mime-version:references:in-reply-to:from:date:message-id:subject:to :cc; bh=RSQUDj9+2p5mBdhFnT2ZeK8nBXHdp9JiaUxv/nO6Jgo=; b=MI1H3+9Pag0rvLcti4Uz4LjRwT3Y97A/oRCAPFbBFpyX0mtuHY8FFPAYyLpA3wWL8L zaque2SrE4XCVMvQunZnNNsFfYZ3LNnQqbj8KW65pbp/AqXMzEkPrK6qdqY+yY/wVApD Oa5fTVd3cR8u5X696DFvVvSPdcj+8+ZSmHUX6Csa2PVxN6jICGQwTP1oL7PLxLMU3t7H ZoMCZqr2zSbq5DK88W9i0Mi8UHl0Iw+7tD19oksglICERExNnHuYgPy3UqbyO2otaEqM mS88CGO3DGmqgX9oHz0DBHICdxmLmAr8sutMO9xIkgg2esutycjqVsY8cQBnP7UMM7R9 qzxA==
X-Google-DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=20161025; h=x-gm-message-state:mime-version:references:in-reply-to:from:date :message-id:subject:to:cc; bh=RSQUDj9+2p5mBdhFnT2ZeK8nBXHdp9JiaUxv/nO6Jgo=; b=ZtfB2YU3eEEGdmDM8IfJDTh0sRtcFe1Y9CAUAOZ9mxEm/cw0qXcC+HeTapBHtrPloj 9gDGXXFTzXKaRlynoPWUNQTFB8v6hVSv8g81QN8mNcNwbUJkJUgvl5g6nNxmm39TZZjd mWmsyxsN5enXLTRB6zjrYbX4NveXmUDfSdirm4niyqDz8IUixMeClKWPm5Lli0cNxtwS Mv9y3f5eMKxNcDcDxvpcjajIfmsU93QMLoSz+gbMC8eqefIKtLKQvYiodXTcjOQ/bGpU w2AYlDet6r9DDV9ej87OG6BzGCF1s4vtry3gCnZ2U9j0Snn5FiGjXvRSq+IknqijpTUg T4Hg==
X-Gm-Message-State: AOAM531peL+/1RaePTWZI5+2v6MRARdqvqecEteyjQjpytMJVw9tciE5 /poleUNbYhUggpJPYTE+XhQQb0GgyW5TYTSPQrrdUNHUuhrr2lCHtR+oJkACBTuL4Fqg6jYVPAc lIY5S/2r2Ettv2t31Z84=
X-Google-Smtp-Source: ABdhPJztICg/RrrrZuLliqU6M98WjDMWjDgJhDJa+89mUjhDEnzVUkToaQ6x7aot8PuiJlyXPTf/EL4uHvwYbrlEB4Q=
X-Received: by 2002:a19:6d1e:: with SMTP id i30mr6084160lfc.104.1595627730680; Fri, 24 Jul 2020 14:55:30 -0700 (PDT)
MIME-Version: 1.0
References: <> <> <> <> <> <>
In-Reply-To: <>
From: Brian Campbell <>
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 15:55:04 -0600
Message-ID: <>
To: Justin Richer <>
Cc: oauth <>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="00000000000014db2005ab37089e"
Archived-At: <>
Subject: Re: [OAUTH-WG] Namespacing "type" in RAR
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.29
Precedence: list
List-Id: OAUTH WG <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 21:55:37 -0000

I think I'm on board with the type being a just string and the guidance
provided about collision-resistance (rather than having a registry for
types or requiring type to be a URI or something along those lines). I
don't believe there's actually an issue with string comparison in that
context and so see no need for the draft to say anything special about it.

In looking at the pull request, however, I'm surprised by there being a
registry for the data elements. And honestly confused about how that would
even work in practice. The contents of the authorization details
object are determined
by the `type` parameter but there's also a registry of the elements that
can make up that content that are general across type. I don't see how to
reconcile that.

On Mon, Jul 20, 2020 at 10:00 AM Justin Richer <> wrote:

> I created a pull request with some proposed language here:
>  — Justin
> On Jul 20, 2020, at 7:42 AM, Justin Richer <> wrote:
> Since this is a recommendation for namespace, we could also just say
> collision-resistant like JWT, and any of those examples are fine. But that
> said, I think there’s something particularly compelling about URIs since
> they have somewhat-human-readable portions. But again, I’m saying it should
> be a recommendation to API developers and not a requirement in the spec. In
> the spec, I argue that “type” should be a string, full stop.
> If documentation is so confusing that developers are typing in the wrong
> strings, then that’s bad documentation. And likely a bad choice for the
> “type” string on the part of the AS. You’d have the same problem with any
> other value the developer’s supposed to copy over.  :)
> I agree that we should call out explicitly how they should be compared,
> and I propose we use one of the handful of existing string-comparison RFC’s
> here instead of defining our own rules.
> While the type could be a dereferenceable URI, requiring action on the AS
> is really getting into distributed authorization policies. We tried doing
> that with UMA1’s scope structures and it didn’t work very well in practice
> (in my memory and experience). Someone could profile “type" on top of this
> if they wanted to do so, with support at the AS for that, but I don’t see a
> compelling reason for that to be a requirement as that’s a lot of
> complexity and a lot more error states (the fetch fails, or it doesn’t have
> a policy, or the policy’s in a format the AS doesn’t understand, or the AS
> doesn’t like the policy, etc).
> And AS is always free to implement its types in such a fashion, and that
> could make plenty of sense in a smaller ecosystem. And this is yet another
> reason that we define “type” as being a string to be interpreted and
> understood by the AS — so that an AS that wants to work this way can do so.
>  — Justin
> PS: thanks for pointing out the error in the example in XYZ, I’ll fix that
> prior to publication.
> On Jul 18, 2020, at 8:58 PM, Dick Hardt <> wrote:
> Justin: thanks for kindly pointing out which mail list this is.
> To clarify, public JWT claims are not just URIs, but any
> collision-resistant namespace:
> "Examples of collision-resistant namespaces include: Domain Names, Object
> Identifiers (OIDs) as defined in the ITU-T X.660 and      X.670
> Recommendation series, and Universally Unique IDentifiers (UUIDs)
> [RFC4122]."
> I think letting the "type" be any JSON string and doing a byte-wise
> comparison will be problematic. A client developer will be reading
> documentation to learn what the types are, and typing it in. Given the wide
> set of whitespace characters, and unicode equivalence, different byte
> streams will all look the same, and a byte-wise comparison will fail.
> Similarly for URIs. If it is a valid URI, then a byte-wise comparison is
> not sufficient. Canonicalization is required.
> These are not showstopper issues, but the specification should call out
> how type strings are compared, and provide caveats to an AS developer.
> I have no idea why you would think the AS would retrieve a URL.
> Since the type represents a much more complex object then a JWT claim, a
> client developer's tooling could pull down the JSON Schema (or some such)
> for a type used in their source code, and provide autocompletion and
> validation which would improve productivity and reduce errors. An AS that
> is using a defined type could use the schema for input validation. Neither
> of these would be at run time. JSON Schema allows comments and examples.
> What is the harm in non-normative language around a retrievable URI?
> BTW: the example in
> has not
> been updated with the "type" field.
> On Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 8:10 AM Justin Richer <> wrote:
>> Hi Dick,
>> This is a discussion about the RAR specification on the OAuth list, and
>> therefore doesn’t have anything to do with alignment with XAuth. In fact, I
>> believe the alignment is the other way around, as doesn’t Xauth normatively
>> reference RAR at this point? Even though, last I saw, it uses a different
>> top-level structure for conveying things, I believe it does say to use the
>> internal object structures. I am also a co-author on RAR and we had already
>> defined a “type” field in RAR quite some time ago. You did notice that
>> XYZ’s latest draft added this field to keep the two in alignment with each
>> other, which has always been the goal since the initial proposal of the RAR
>> work, but that’s a time lag and not a display of new intent.
>> In any event, even though I think the decision has bearing in both
>> places, this isn’t about GNAP. Working on RAR’s requirements has brought up
>> this interesting issue of what should be in the type field for RAR in OAuth
>> 2.
>> I think that it should be defined as a string, and therefore compared as
>> a byte value in all cases, regardless of what the content of the string is.
>> I don’t think the AS should be expected to fetch a URI for anything. I
>> don’t think the AS should normalize any of the inputs. I think that any
>> JSON-friendly character set should be allowed (including spaces and
>> unicodes), and since RAR already requires the JSON objects to be
>> form-encoded, this shouldn’t cause additional trouble when adding them in
>> to OAuth 2’s request structures.
>> The idea of using a URI would be to get people out of each other’s
>> namespaces. It’s similar to the concept of “public” vs “private” claims in
>> JWT:
>> What I’m proposing is that if you think it’s going to be a
>> general-purpose type name, then we recommend you use a URI as your string.
>> And beyond that, that’s it. It’s up to the AS to figure out what to do with
>> it, and RAR stays out of it.
>>  — Justin
>> On Jul 17, 2020, at 1:25 PM, Dick Hardt <> wrote:
>> Hey Justin, glad to see that you have aligned with the latest XAuth draft
>> on a type property being required.
>> I like the idea that the value of the type property is fully defined by
>> the AS, which could delegate it to a common URI for reuse. This gets GNAP
>> out of specifying access requests, and enables other parties to define
>> access without any required coordination with IETF or IANA.
>> A complication in mixing plain strings and URIs is the canonicalization.
>> A plain string can be a fixed byte representation, but a URI requires
>> canonicalization for comparison. Mixing the two requires URI detection at
>> the AS before canonicalization, and an AS MUST do canonicalization of URIs.
>> The URI is retrievable, it can provide machine and/or human readable
>> documentation in JSON schema or some such, or any other content type. Once
>> again, the details are out of scope of GNAP, but we can provide examples to
>> guide implementers.
>> Are you still thinking that bare strings are allowed in GNAP, and are
>> defined by the AS?
>> On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 8:39 AM Justin Richer <> wrote:
>>> The “type” field in the RAR spec serves an important purpose: it defines
>>> what goes in the rest of the object, including what other fields are
>>> available and what values are allowed for those fields. It provides an
>>> API-level definition for requesting access based on multiple dimensions,
>>> and that’s really powerful and flexible. Each type can use any of the
>>> general-purpose fields like “actions” and/or add its own fields as
>>> necessary, and the “type” parameter keeps everything well-defined.
>>> The question, then, is what defines what’s allowed to go into the “type”
>>> field itself? And what defines how that value maps to the requirements for
>>> the rest of the object? The draft doesn’t say anything about it at the
>>> moment, but we should choose the direction we want to go. On the surface,
>>> there are three main options:
>>> 1) Require all values to be registered.
>>> 2) Require all values to be collision-resistant (eg, URIs).
>>> 3) Require all values to be defined by the AS (and/or the RS’s that it
>>> protects).
>>> Are there any other options?
>>> Here are my thoughts on each approach:
>>> 1) While it usually makes sense to register things for interoperability,
>>> this is a case where I think that a registry would actually hurt
>>> interoperability and adoption. Like a “scope” value, the RAR “type” is
>>> ultimately up to the AS and RS to interpret in their own context. We :want:
>>> people to define rich objects for their APIs and enable fine-grained access
>>> for their systems, and if they have to register something every time they
>>> come up with a new API to protect, it’s going to be an unmaintainable mess.
>>> I genuinely don’t think this would scale, and that most developers would
>>> just ignore the registry and do what they want anyway. And since many of
>>> these systems are inside domains, it’s completely unenforceable in practice.
>>> 2) This seems reasonable, but it’s a bit of a nuisance to require
>>> everything to be a URI here. It’s long and ugly, and a lot of APIs are
>>> going to be internal to a given group, deployment, or ecosystem anyway.
>>> This makes sense when you’ve got something reusable across many
>>> deployments, like OIDC, but it’s overhead when what you’re doing is tied to
>>> your environment.
>>> 3) This allows the AS and RS to define the request parameters for their
>>> APIs just like they do today with scopes. Since it’s always the combination
>>> of “this type :AT: this AS/RS”, name spacing is less of an issue across
>>> systems. We haven’t seen huge problems in scope value overlap in the wild,
>>> though it does occur from time to time it’s more than manageable. A client
>>> isn’t going to just “speak RAR”, it’s going to be speaking RAR so that it
>>> can access something in particular.
>>> And all that brings me to my proposal:
>>> 4) Require all values to be defined by the AS, and encourage
>>> specification developers to use URIs for collision resistance.
>>> So officially in RAR, the AS would decide what “type” means, and nobody
>>> else. But we can also guide people who are developing general-purpose
>>> interoperable APIs to use URIs for their RAR “type” definitions. This would
>>> keep those interoperable APIs from stepping on each other, and from
>>> stepping on any locally-defined special “type” structure. But at the end of
>>> the day, the URI carries no more weight than just any other string, and the
>>> AS decides what it means and how it applies.
>>> My argument is that this seems to have worked very, very well for
>>> scopes, and the RAR “type” is cut from similar descriptive cloth.
>>> What does the rest of the group think? How should we manage the RAR
>>> “type” values and what they mean?
>>>  — Justin
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> OAuth mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> OAuth mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> OAuth mailing list

_CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email may contain confidential and privileged 
material for the sole use of the intended recipient(s). Any review, use, 
distribution or disclosure by others is strictly prohibited.  If you have 
received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately 
by e-mail and delete the message and any file attachments from your 
computer. Thank you._