[uf-new] Sign Microformatted content & Build Microformat for Digital Signatures

Henrich C. Poehls newsletter at 2000grad.com
Sun Feb 18 23:00:39 PST 2007


deep buried in the discussion around a way to find/trace an
authoritative hcard on the uf-discuss mailing list [1] I proposed the
idea of having the possibility to digitally sign microformatted content
Nick Drago then helped to put the discussion of my 1st format proposal
into the uf-Wiki [4].

I am going to shortly share some benefits of a Microformat for digital
signatures I see here. I am really looking forward discussing it either
here or on the discussion page on the WiKi.

- Why a new Microformat?
I think signing a "Microformat" (aka Microformatted Content) shall be
possible within "Microformats" (so itself a microformat). Such as XML
can be signed and the Signature stored in XML as well.

- Why signing Microformatted content?
Microformats facilitate reuse of semantically annotated content. It
allows services and applications to cut&paste, convert, re-publish,
link-to, cite Microformatted content. In any of these cases it might be
interesting to see who the original author was. Additionally viewers
want to verify authorship. Digital Signatures offer just this,

- Why use digital signatures and not some "Trace-Back-Mechanism" [1]
Trace-back allows to find a "bigger", more complete version of
Microformatted content. Trace-back only verifies that the pointer used
for trace-back is now "self referencing". Trace-back will then verify
the content's source based on a URI/URL.

IMHO trace-back is a weaker "form of authenticity" than that achieved by
a digital signatures.

Also digital signatures are more versatile:
-- Digital signatures add authenticity without the need to trace links
back to some URL, so reduces the overhead if the content at view is
"authoritative enough".
-- Digital signatures allow to add authority to content that is placed
on foreign URLs (e.g. Signing your whole Comment you left on a foreign

I can come up with more good reasons, but I stop now, leaving room for
your, much welcomed, thoughts :-)



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