Musings on Digital Identity

Month: December 2011

OpenID Connect Implementer’s Draft Review

OpenID logoOpenID Connect is a simple identity layer built on top of OAuth 2.0. It enables clients to verify the identity of and to obtain basic profile information about an end-user. It uses RESTful protocols and JSON data structures to provide a low barrier to entry. The design philosophy behind OpenID Connect is “make simple things simple and make complex things possible”.

OpenID Connect is designed to cover a range of scenarios and use cases including Internet, enterprise, cloud, and mobile, to span security & privacy requirements from non-sensitive information to highly secure, and to span sophistication of claims usage, from basic default claims to specific requested claims to aggregated and distributed claims. It maximizes the simplicity of implementations by reusing existing OAuth 2.0, JWT, and SWD specs and employing a modular structure, allowing deployments to utilize only the pieces they need.

OpenID Connect has a number of key differences from OpenID 2.0. Among them are: support for native client applications, identifiers using e-mail address format, standard UserInfo endpoint for retrieving basic claims about the end-user, being designed to work well on mobile phones, use of JSON/REST rather than XML, support for encryption and higher LoAs, and support for distributed and aggregated claims.

Today marks a milestone in the OpenID Connect specification development: the OpenID Foundation announced that the current set of drafts is being reviewed for approval as Implementer’s Drafts. An Implementer’s Draft is a stable version of a specification intended for implementation and deployment that provides intellectual property protections to implementers of the specification. These drafts are the product of incorporating months of feedback from implementers and reviewers of earlier specification drafts, including feedback resulting from interop testing. Thanks to all of you who contributed to the development of OpenID Connect!

OAuth 2.0 Bearer Token Specification Draft -15

OAuth logoDraft 15 of the OAuth 2.0 Bearer Token Specification has been published. It contains the following changes:

  • Clarified that form-encoded content must consist entirely of ASCII characters.
  • Added TLS version requirements.
  • Applied editorial improvements suggested by Mark Nottingham during the APPS area review.

The draft is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is available at:

SWD, JWT, JWS, JWE, JWK, and OAuth JWT Profile specs updated

OAuth logoNew versions of the SWD, JWT, JWS, JWE, JWK, and OAuth JWT Profile specs have been posted. They address a number of comments received on the JOSE list and at the JOSE WG meeting in Taipei and make a number of clarifications, corrections, and editorial improvements.

The only breaking change made was to use short names in the JWK spec, as suggested during the WG meeting in Taipei, since JWK Key Object values are used as JWE Ephemeral Public Keys, and so compactness matters. This also required corresponding changes in the JWE spec.

This checkin moves the definitions of the “prn” (principal) and “jti” (JSON Token ID) claims from other specs into the JWT spec, as both of these claims enable general token functionality that is likely to be used in many contexts.

This checkin is intended to be the last set of individual submissions of the JWS, JWE, and JWK drafts before they are refactored and submitted to the JOSE WG as working group drafts. The primary changes requested by the JOSE WG but not yet done are to break the algorithm profiles and identifiers out into a new spec and to rework the terminology in the signature spec to use different terms for digital signature and HMAC integrity operations.

See the Document History sections of each document for a detailed description of the changes made. These documents are available at:

HTML-formatted versions are available at:

Special thanks to Jim Schaad for his detailed comments on the JWS and JWE specs, many of which were incorporated into these drafts.

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