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From rich levinson <>
Subject Re: [VOTE] [PROPOSAL] Accept OpenAz (Access Control Tools) into the Apache Incubator
Date Tue, 06 Jan 2015 18:57:31 GMT

On 1/6/2015 12:44 PM, RATH, CHRISTOPHER A (CHRISTOPHER A) wrote:
> +1.
> --
> Christopher A. Rath
> Director Inventive Science – Intelligent Systems Research Department
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hadrian Zbarcea []
> Sent: Monday, January 05, 2015 10:28 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [VOTE] [PROPOSAL] Accept OpenAz (Access Control Tools) into the Apache Incubator
> +1.
> I made some cosmetic changes to the list of committers and mentors. It should be clear
> Hadrian
> On 01/05/2015 02:04 PM, Hal Lockhart wrote:
>> I added a comma and the word "and" to the Mentors section. The Mentors are:
>> Emmanuel Lécharny, Colm O hEigeartaigh and Hadrian Zbarcea
>> Do you see any other formatting errors?
>> Hal
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Roman Shaposhnik []
>>> Sent: Monday, January 05, 2015 1:24 PM
>>> To:
>>> Subject: Re: [VOTE] [PROPOSAL] Accept OpenAz (Access Control Tools)
>>> into the Apache Incubator
>>> Hi!
>>> can you please fix the formatting issues? For example, I can't even
>>> tell the exact list of mentors you're proposing.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Roman.
>>> On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 10:15 AM, Hal Lockhart
>>> <>
>>> wrote:
>>>> I call a vote to accept OpenAz as a new Incubator project.
>>>> The proposal can be found here:
>>>> and is included below in this email.
>>>> Voting will remain open until at least January 20, 2015 23:00 ET.
>>>> Hal Lockhart
>>>> --------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> -
>>> -
>>>> -----------------
>>>> Abstract
>>>> OpenAz is a project to create tools and libraries to enable the
>>> development of Attribute-based Access Control (ABAC) Systems in a
>>> variety of languages. In general the work is at least consistent with
>>> or actually conformant to the OASIS XACML Standard.
>>>> Proposal
>>>> Generally the work falls into two categories: ready to use tools
>>> which implement standardized or well understood components of an ABAC
>>> system and design proposals and proof of concept code relating to
>>> less well understood or experimental aspects of the problem.
>>>> Much of the work to date has revolved around defining interfaces
>>> enabling a PEP to request an access control decision from a PDP. The
>>> XACML standard defines an abstract request format in xml and protocol
>>> wire formats in xaml and json, but it does not specify programmatic
>>> interfaces in any language. The standard says that the use of XML (or
>>> JSON) is not required only the semantic equivalent.
>>>> The first Interface, AzAPI is modeled closely on the XACML defined
>>> interface, expressed in Java. One of the goals was to support calls
>>> to both a PDP local to the same process and a PDP in a remote server.
>>> AzAPI includes the interface, reference code to handle things like
>>> the many supported datatypes in XACML and glue code to mate it to the
>>> open source Sun XACML implementation.
>>>> Because of the dependence on Sun XACML (which is XACML 2.0) the
>>> interface was missing some XACML 3.0 features. More recently this was
>>> corrected and WSo2 has mated it to their XACML 3.0 PDP. Some work was
>>> done by the JPMC team to support calling a remote PDP. WSo2 is also
>>> pursuing this capability.
>>>> A second, higher level interface, PEPAPI was also defined. PEPAPI is
>>> more intended for application developers with little knowledge of
>>> XACML. It allows Java objects which contain attribute information to
>>> be passed in. Conversion methods, called mappers extract information
>>> from the objects and present it in the format expected by XACML. Some
>>> implementers have chosen to implement PEPAPI directly against their
>>> PDP, omitting the use of AzAPI. Naomaru Itoi defined a C++ interface
>>> which closely matches the Java one.
>>>> Examples of more speculative work include: proposals for
>>>> registration
>>> and dispatch of Obligation and Advice handlers, a scheme called AMF
>>> to tell PIPs how to retrieve attributes and PIP code to implement it,
>>> discussion of PoC code to demonstrate the use of XACML policies to
>>> drive OAuth interations and a proposal to use XACML policies to
>>> express OAuth scope.
>>>> AT&T has recently contributed their extensive XACML framework to the
>>> project.
>>>> The AT&T framework represents the entire XACML 3.0 object set as a
>>> collection of Java interfaces and standard implementations of those
>>> interfaces. The AT&T PDP engine is built on top of this framework and
>>> represents a complete implementation of a XACML 3.0 PDP, including
>>> all of the multi-decision profiles. In addition, the framework also
>>> contains an implementation of the OASIS XACML 3.0 RESTful API v1.0
>>> and XACML JSON Profile v1.0 WD 14. The PEP API includes annotation
>>> functionality, allowing application developers to simply annotate a
>>> Java class to provide attributes for a request. The annotation
>>> support removes the need for application developers to learn much of the API.
>>>> The AT&T framework also includes interfaces and implementations to
>>> standardize development of PIP engines that are used by the AT&T PDP
>>> implementation, and can be used by other implementations built on top
>>> of the AT&T framework. The framework also includes interfaces and
>>> implementations for a PAP distributed cloud infrastructure of PDP
>>> nodes that includes support for policy distribution and pip configurations.
>>> This PAP infrastructure includes a web application administrative
>>> console that contains a XACML 3.0 policy editor, attribute dictionary
>>> support, and management of PDP RESTful node instances. In addition,
>>> there are tools available for policy simulation.
>>>> Background
>>>> Access Control is in some ways the most basic IT Security service.
>>>> It
>>> consists of making a decision about whether a particular request
>>> should be allowed and enforcing that decision. Aside from schemes
>>> like permission bits and Access Control Lists (ACLs) the most common
>>> way access control is implemented is as code in a server or
>>> application which typically intertwines access control logic with
>>> business logic, User interface and other software. This makes it
>>> difficult to understand, modify, analyze or even locate the security
>>> policy. The primary challenge of Access Control is striking the right
>>> balance between powerful expression and intelligibility to human beings.
>>>> The OASIS XACML Standard exemplifies Attribute-Based Access Control
>>> (ABAC). In ABAC, the Policy Decision Point (PDP) is isolated from
>>> other components. The Policy Enforcement Point (PEP) must be located
>>> so as to be able to enforce the decision, typically near the
>>> resource. The PEP first asks the PDP if access should be allowed and
>>> provides data, in the form of Attributes, to be used as input to the
>>> policies held by the PDP.
>>>> In addition to responding permit or deny, XACML allows a policy to
>>> emit Obligations or Advice, which direct the PEP to do certain
>>> things, such logging the access or failure or promising to get rid of
>>> the data after 30 days.
>>>> Attributes are identified as being in a certain category which
>>> represents one element in the proposed access. For example attributes
>>> may be associated with the resource being accessed, the action being
>>> taken or the environment, .e.g. date/time. Attributes may also be
>>> associated with any or several types of Subjects, which represent the
>>> active parties to the access, such as the requester, intermediaries,
>>> the recipient (if different), the codebase, the machine executing the
>>> code.
>>>> Attributes may be provided by the PEP and usually at least a few
>>>> are,
>>> but Attributes may also added by other components of the system. It
>>> is also possible for a PDP to add attributes in the middle of policy
>>> evaluation. All of these obtain Attributes from the Policy
>>> Information Point (PIP).
>>>> The Policy Administration Point (PAP) creates policies and manages
>>> then through their life cycles and generally the entire infrastructure.
>>>> The XACML language is essentially a set of expressions which
>>>> evaluate
>>> to a Boolean. If true the policy is said to be applicable. The Policy
>>> contains permit or deny and may include Permissions and or Advice. If
>>> policies disagree we resolve the conflict with combining algorithms.
>>> XACML provides some standard ones and you can implement your own.
>>> Mostly they are common sense like drop non-applicable polices. A
>>> commonly used algorithm is default deny. Deny overrides permit.
>>>> Rationale
>>>> Access Control may be the most basic security service, but for the
>>> most part it remains primitive in practice. While other services like
>>> message protection and authentication have seen many advances in
>>> recent years and decades, deployed access control systems are opaque,
>>> difficult to us and harder to manage. Most organizations claim that
>>> they have security policies, protect privacy and accurately report
>>> financial results, but in practice they have no real way of
>>> discovering whether their systems actually behave the way they are alleged to
>>>> Just the foreground problems relating to deploying practical ABAC
>>> systems make a formidable list. If only the PDP knows what the
>>> policies are, how do we make sure it gets the attributes it needs to
>>> evaluate policies? How can we name organize, register and dispatch
>>> Obligations and Advice, allowing handlers to be provided by the
>>> system and added by users? How can the XACML 3.0 feature of being
>>> able to create your own attribute categories best be supported by the
>>> infrastructure and utilized by users? What are the best ways to create and test
>>> What tools will best help us analyze the effects of the policies in
>>> force?
>>>> However, new requirements are rapidly being introduced and need to
>>>> be
>>> met. Privacy requirements continue to increase in complexity and scope.
>>> Data which moves around, such as documents, need to be protected. We
>>> need secure ways to delegate authority without undermining the
>>> integrity of the access control system. New applications, business
>>> and social relationships are driving the need for new policy and
>>> delegation capabilities.
>>>> We believe that the way to meet these challenges is to get more
>>> people actively engaged in using what is currently available so they
>>> can understand its limitations and make it better. We need to make it
>>> far easier to get a basic access control infrastructure up and running.
>>> We need more people who are familiar with XACML the way many people
>>> are familiar with SQL. If as some people say, XACML is the assembly
>>> language of access control, we need the real world experience with it
>>> that will lead us to the useful abstractions that can be implemented
>>> in higher level languages and other tools.
>>>> Initial Goals
>>>> Work is currently underway to extend the PEPAPI and increase its
>>> flexibility. Since it does not directly correspond to any standard
>>> the way AzAPI does, it is necessary to struggle with the issues of
>>> what to expose and what to hide from consumers of the API.
>>>> Other work in progress involves the architecture of Obligations and
>>> Advice. There is also an effort to develop a remote client which can
>>> easily be dropped into any Java environment and make decision
>>> requests of any commercial or open source XACML PDP.
>>>> The contribution of AT&T's framework creates a need to integrate the
>>> prior work with it. Most of the focus will be on AzAPI and the
>>> corresponding AT&T API, which do largely the same thing. The result
>>> is likely to be a synthesis, since each has features the other lacks.
>>> Then PEPAPI will need to be integrated with the new API. The AT&T PDP
>>> and PAP will be incorporated as is. There has been some parallel work
>>> done in the area of PIPs. Work will be required to understand how to
>>> proceed here.
>>>> Current Status
>>>> Meritocracy
>>>> The project was started by Prateek Mishra, Rich Levinson and Hal
>>> Lockhart in 2010. Rich Levinson wrote most of the AzAPI and PEPAPI
>>> code. Naomaru Itoi defined the C++ version of the PEPAPI. In 2013
>>> Duanhua Tu and Ajith Nair contributed code both using and extending
>>> AzAPI and PEPAPI and incorporating PIPs using the AMF as originally
>>> proposed by Hal Lockhart. In 2013 Erik Rissanen, Srijith Nair and
>>> Rich Levinson updated AzAPI to include all XACML 3.0 features. In
>>> 2014 Pam Dragosh and Chris Rath contributed the XACML infrastructure
>>> they had developed at AT&T.
>>>> During most of its history the project has been very small and has
>>> made decisions by informal consensus. Major design issues have been
>>> decided by open debate. Minor issues and experimental proposals have
>>> been openly welcomed. Several of the participants have a background
>>> in open consensus-based standards making.
>>>> In addition to the mailing list, the project has regular phone calls
>>> every other Thursday.
>>>> Community
>>>> The original focus of the project was to attract developers of XACML
>>> products, either individuals or corporations, and to build alignment
>>> among vendors on a common API that could simplify technical
>>> integration for their customers. As OpenAz has matured, our community
>>> has grown to include application developers working to adopt and
>>> deploy XACML in their applications. So, for example, contributions
>>> reflect what individual developers have learned in vertical
>>> industries such as financial services, healthcare, and computing and
>>> communications services, and our APIs and internal component
>>> architecture have evolved to reflect a strong practical understanding
>>> of what it takes to deploy XACML applications in a large organization.
>>>> Core Developers
>>>> The following developers have written most of the code to date.
>>>> Pam Dragosh <pdragosh at research dot att dot com> Rich Levinson <
>>>> rich.levinson at oracle dot com> Ajith Nair <ajithkumar.r.nair at
>>>> jpmchase dot com> Chris Rath <car at research dot att dot com>
>>> Duanhua
>>>> Tu <duanhua.tu at jpmchase dot com>
>>>> The following people made other significant technical contributions.
>>>> David Laurence <david.c.laurance at jpmorgan dot com> Hal Lockhart
>>>> <hal.lockhart at oracle dot com> Prateek Mishra prateek.mishra at
>>>> oracle dot com>
>>>> Alignment
>>>> It has always been a goal to make OpenAz an Apache project. The
>>> Apache license was used for all contributions. We believe the project
>>> has now reached a critical size in terms of developers, organizations
>>> and contributed code to make it appropriate to make a proposal to the
>>> Incubator.
>>>> Known Risks
>>>> Orphaned Projects
>>>> Given the small size of the project, there is a risk of the project
>>> being orphaned. There seems to be strong interest in the use of our
>>> tools, which should markedly increase with the contribution of the
>>> AT&T code. "Where can I get an open source PDP?" and "where can I get
>>> an open source policy editor?" are frequent questions on XACML
>>> mailing lists.
>>>> Inexperience with Open Source
>>>> While few of the developers have extensive experience with open
>>> source, a number of us have long experience in standards making in
>>> open consensus-based environments. For example the XACML TC has
>>> operated since 2001 based on consensus building, with few, if any
>>> votes which were not unanimous. The main challenge to the project
>>> will be managing the process with more participants and a more formal process.
>>>> Homogeneous Developers
>>>> Currently all the contributors are employees either of companies
>>> offering an XACML product or large end users deploying XACML
>>> technology for internal use. The positive aspect is that they are all
>>> highly experienced senior developers used to operating in a
>>> disciplined environment. The disadvantage is that the focus to date
>>> has mostly been problems that arise in large scale environments
>>> typified by the infrastructure of large corporations.
>>>> Reliance on Salaried Developers
>>>> All current committers are salaried developers. However the
>>> organizations they work for have a long term commitment to the
>>> technology. We hope that in the Apache foundation we will be able to
>>> attract new developers to help us address the many fascinating
>>> unsolved technological problems associated with deploying ABAC.
>>>> Relationship with other Apache Projects
>>>> As far as we can determine, no existing Apache project overlaps with
>>> OpenAz in its goals of the technology developed so far. However,
>>> beyond the immediate project goals there are many potential
>>> opportunities for integration with existing Apache projects. Shiro,
>>> Turbine and WSS4J are Java frameworks which could incorporate XACML
>>> as the policy language using OpenAz components. Manifold CF, Qpid and
>>> Archiva already have hooks to incorporate external access control systems.
>>>> An Excessive Fascination with the Apache Brand
>>>> We hope that becoming an Apache project will not only attract new
>>> participants to OpenAz, but will draw attention to the neglected
>>> field of access control. As previously stated it has always been our
>>> goal to join Apache, the only question was when the time was ripe.
>>>> Documentation
>>>> The OpenAz web site is:
>>>> Java docs can be found here:
>>> /
>>>> index.html
>>>> Initial Source
>>>> The AzAPI, PEPAPI and other related code can be found on sourceforge:
>>>> AT&T's framework can be found on github:
>>>> Source and Intellectual Property Submission Plan
>>>> All the OpenAz code has been submitted under the Apache 2.0 license.
>>> The AT&T software is available under the MIT license. Over time the
>>> project will move to a single license.
>>>> External Dependencies
>>>> There aren't any we are aware of.
>>>> Cryptography
>>>> OpenAz does not provide any cryptographic capabilities. The XACML
>>> Standard does specify some uses of cryptography directly, e.g.
>>> digital signatures over policies and others by implication, e.g.
>>> authentication via cryptography.
>>>> Required Resources
>>>> Mailing lists
>>>> The standard lists should be sufficient at the current time.The
>>> mailing list name will be openaz.
>>>> Git Directory
>>>> We propose:
>>>> Issue Tracking
>>>> The project will use JIRA for issue tracking.
>>>> Initial Committers
>>>> Rich Levinson Hal Lockhart Prateek Mishra David Laurance Duanhua Tu
>>>> Ajith Nair Srijith Nair Pam Dragosh Chris Rath
>>>> Affiliations
>>>> Rich Levinson, Hal Lockhart and Prateek Mishra work for Oracle.
>>>> David
>>> Laurance, Duanhua Tu and Ajith Nair work for JP Morgan-Chase. Srijith
>>> Nair works for Axiomatics. Pam Dragosh and Chris Rath work for AT&T.
>>>> Sponsors
>>>> Champion
>>>> Paul Fremantle
>>>> Nominated Mentors
>>>> Emmanuel Lécharny Colm O hEigeartaigh Hadrian Zbarcea
>>>> Sponsoring Entity
>>>> The Sponsoring Entity will be the Incubator.
>>>> --------------------------------------------------------------------
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Thanks, Rich

Oracle <>
Rich Levinson | Internet Standards Security Architect
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