DID WG Telco — Minutes

Date: 2021-10-05

See also the Agenda


Present: Orie Steele, Justin Richer, Dan Burnett, Ted Thibodeau Jr., Drummond Reed, Joe Andrieu, Markus Sabadello, Ryan Grant, Brent Zundel, Dmitri Zagidulin, Pamela Dingle, Adrian Gropper, Mike Prorock

Regrets: Ivan Herman

Guests: Philippe Le Hégaret

Chair: Daniel Burnett

Scribe(s): Justin Richer, Dmitri Zagidulin


1. Agenda Review / Introductions

Daniel Burnett: suggestions for changes to agenda?

2. Status of DID Document

Daniel Burnett: Philippe le Hégaret has joined us to update

Philippe le Hégaret: bad news (sorry)
… had a call w/objectors to TR 2-3 weeks ago
… did not manage to find common ground w/various folks
… decided to send formal objection to W3C council, getting pulled into W3C as legal entity
… advisory board has been working toward being director-free for some time, instead council w/advisory board & TAG members
… in case of formal objection, analysis is sent up to council
… have several formal objections to charters, DID is the only formal objection to a TR
… have yet to see how council will do with this
… this thursday, AB will take formal objection on agenda and rule on it
… could take a month/month and a half to get through
… tricky bit is to get recusal within council, could end up leaving only people who don’t care or know as much
… if the council can make a ruling, we’re good w/new process; otherwise we need to go back to drawing board

Daniel Burnett: question about recusal; any process that allows the objectors to participate in a ruling is unacceptable

Philippe le Hégaret: this is the tricky bit, I hear you
… every single formal objection triggers this; another one was a TAG participant
… will write analysis, circulate it to each side, and send to council

Brent Zundel: very curious to know who instigated this extra-process of going to council

Philippe le Hégaret: director & myself

Brent Zundel: will interpret this as director using the council to help make his decision

Philippe le Hégaret: he hasn’t delegated his power to the council, director can still disagree

Drummond Reed don’t think any of us knew about this option; challenge is that those who are have been working on this are getting questions from customers about why this is happening
… my question is: what’s public visibility of this process?

Philippe le Hégaret: fair question; if you look for a process, you will not find one, that’s part of the exercise to figure ou the process
… visibility: received authorization to make almost all formal objections public; there was also the call, minutes will be made public
… deliberations of council, believe they can be made public? not sure, process not set in stone; deliberations will be made public

Daniel Burnett: what, if anything, should we do? can we help the process move forward?

Philippe le Hégaret: sending one or more things through council, council should be able to make decision within month, month and a half at most

Ted Thibodeau Jr. charters may have been waiting longer, but they don’t have an expiration; how far is extension going to go?
… what do we do if TR is rejected?

Philippe le Hégaret: extending charters as necessary (both DID/VC), if no decision, more extension
… you guys did everything in the process you were asked to do, WG did nothing wrong in process
… technical perspective, remains to be determined

Daniel Burnett: there is some follow-on work that is depending on this, other charters, etc
… is everything put on hold until this is resolved?
… will there be a way for us to provide input to this council, particularly if the recusal process results in objectors remaining on the council

Philippe le Hégaret: yes; will happily share analysis, anyone is welcome to correct, disagreements are welcome to be written/submitted
… last time, council invited co-chairs to present directly to the council, likely to happen again
… council will be welcoming feedback on process, especially recusal issues; it’s recognized as a potential problem from the start

Daniel Burnett: this has gone on way longer than other items, but it’s important.

Pamela Dingle: do you expect transparency over who forms council, who recuses, and whether or not they’ve been voting members in the WG?

Philippe le Hégaret: council is composed of AB & TAG members, it’s public information
… eg, Amy (a document editor) is by default recused in the council, don’t know who’s recused
… would be surprised if information is not public

Michael Prorock: what actual questions are coming up from the formal objection side that can be taken back to the WG to address?
… related: payments spec is up for vote, directly uses blockchain, why is that not being held to the same standards?

Philippe le Hégaret: nothing WG can do to satisfy them short of waiting until DID methods are standardized … would surprise me if WG did that

Michael Prorock: they do not feel standardizing did:key & did:web would be sufficient anyway

Philippe le Hégaret: correct, but correct me if I’m wrong, it’s what I understand from the objectors … did:key & did:web are not decentralized enough

Michael Prorock: did:key is decentralized as possible, would a technical read of that help address their concerns?

Philippe le Hégaret: I doubt it
… mozilla made formal objection public already, I don’t think there’s anything this group can do
… mozilla objected to original charter

Michael Prorock: second question, why is DID WG being used as test case to push environmental concerns
… I agree withholding ourselves to higher standard
… reality is, payments group is up for vote
… DIDs are using existing infrastructure indirectly
… why are same standards not being applied to payments group?
… browser vendors want to support payments within their platforms, but want to block smaller tech

Philippe le Hégaret: if there are formal objections we will receive them in the next few weeks
… would be surprised to see objections on the same grounds
… none of the current implementations rely on bitcoin; it could be used, but it’s not the case today
… besides, who said that you have to be consistent, from one objection to another? you can disagree with yourself within a month ;)
… I don’t guarantee payments will go through smoothly

Markus Sabadello: thank you for explaining that process
… in this process, is there any role for advisory committee and rest of member organizations?
… 3 objections but 40 in favor, how does that fit in?

Philippe le Hégaret: right now we are at the phase of whether to sustain or override the formal objection
… director decided to get input from the council
… once the director’s decision is made we can still file objections to director’s decisions
… AC can request to overrule director
… AB is always open to hear from members
… environmental concerns: we agree we should look into this further, it’s up to the director; everyone is interested in solving the problem

Daniel Burnett: do you believe the director’s request to do this is because the director specifically needs input, or is this an opportunity because of the nature of the request & who’s involved to see whether the proposed future director-free plan will work?

Philippe le Hégaret: speculating here, I think it’s more the latter (to see if the process will work)
… once we are director-free, too late to say we don’t like the roles
… hope that we see this as part of process 2022
… I encourage you to comment on the whole experience with the council

Daniel Burnett: we may be discouraged with the delay, this isn’t indicative of greater concern with this specific work

Philippe le Hégaret: correct, this WG did everything by the charter
… it’s an opportunity to test how we go director-free

Ted Thibodeau Jr.:: Comment here on evolving DRAFT Director-Free process – https://github.com/w3c/w3process/tree/director-free

Brent Zundel: appreciate the recognition; we did everything according to charter and process, but objectors didn’t
… objectors had opportunity to object during two separate CR’s, they didn’t
… this is very frustrating; I speak for more than myself

Drummond Reed add myself to brent’s voice, already a lot of people depending on this
… being seen from the outside as classic back-room politics; v. small group is overriding a majority, with 2 years of work so i think you can appreciate the level of frustration that this causes for us.

Ryan Grant: +1

Philippe le Hégaret: appreciate you bringing that up
… some did not formally object before, but did now
… process allows them to do that; but director/council can take that into account when ruling this
… understand the frustration
… timing-wise, it’s not like we’re missing opportunities
… the timing of the decision is always a consideration of the Director’s
… if you believe the objection is causing harm because of the delay, I encourage you to
… mention that to the director. It would be useful input, on that front.
… regarding the VC charter, the reason it’s getting delayed, is we were waiting on Brent
… to do a draft of the VC charter before sending to the committee.
… But as you pointed out, you’re waiting to see what happens with the DID WG charter,
… before knowing what the new VC charter should have.

Daniel Burnett: the result of this (DID spec) is important outside of W3C, and will be watched very closely.
… I know this kind of stuff happens (this is not the only WG/Standards Group where this has occurred),
… but I just want to reiterate that there are many industries that could be harmed because of the delay.

Philippe le Hégaret: unfortunately, that added importance, makes it that much more important for us to
… observe what the committee does.

Brent Zundel: I want to raise the concern that VCs and DIDs represent a distinct methodology for handling digital
… identity, that is in direct opposition to some standards that are already being adopted and folded into
… the technologies of the formal objectors. Any delays in our spec directly serve the business interests
… of the objectors, since it affects competing standards.

Philippe le Hégaret: unfortunately, that is very often the case. Formal objections like that get heated very quickly.
… I will do my best to ensure council and the director makes the decision as soon as possible.
… I’m sorry you’re getting caught in this.

Brent Zundel: I appreciate everything you’re doing, Philippe. My ability to believe that the other side is acting in good faith is rapidly fading.

Orie Steele: are all formal objections to specs going to the council? Or just specific ones?

Philippe le Hégaret: at the moment, all formal objections will be sent to council.
… we have 4 charters being caught up in this right now.

Drummond Reed there’s a very specific reality (both DIDs and VCs are affected) – ISO has a spec for Mobile Drivers Licenses,
… that is being widely perceived as a competitor to VCs and DIDs. And we know some of the objectors have strong
… business interests in the adoption of MDLs. So, it raises ethical questions in our mind, not just in objecting
… to competing tech, but in favoring the specification of a competing standards body (W3C vs ISO).

Philippe le Hégaret: neither the Director or I knew about that part. If you believe this should affect the decision,
… I encourage you to write to myself and the Director.

Drummond Reed will do

Daniel Burnett: this goes for everyone, if you believe there are critical items for Philippe and the Director, please send them.

Brent Zundel: Thank you Philippe for joining us today

Ryan Grant: +1