The Authority Public Key Distribution Protocol

From Thu Aug  6 13:49:56 1998
From:    Ed Simon <>
To:      "''" <>
Subject: ANNOUNCE:  The Authority Public Key Distribution Protocol
         (uses XSL and XML extensively)
Date:    Thu, 6 Aug 1998 14:27:26 -0400 


I thought subscribers to this list might be interested in a white paper just published on Entrust's Web site. The "Authority Public Key Distribution Protocol" uses XSL extensively for transforming XML instances into legal documents. Here is a snippet from the whitepaper. . .

The Authority Public-Key Distribution protocol implements the legal, as well as the technical, requirements for distribution of an authority's public key. In the paper-based world, it is common practice to use a standard template for the legal text, leaving spaces for the specific details of a contract. For example, an EDI trading partner agreement uses generic legal text but leaves spaces within that text so the human parties can write in details, such as the names of the parties, etc.

In the new world of electronic commerce, it becomes possible to automate the negotiation of contracts defined by a standard legal framework. Appropriately, this automation of contract negotiations is called "electronic contracting". As in the paper world, the legal framework is important, but if the legal framework has been standardized, the negotiation becomes simpler because it can focus solely on the variable parts of the contract (e.g.. the offer price).

In the electronic world, XML (together with XSL) allows the static and variable parts of a legal document to be both cleanly separated and re-joined. The separation of the variable information into its own XML instance allows applications to focus on the variable parts of the electronic contract. Yet, if the full legal text (static and variable) is required, an application can simply apply the XSL style sheet (containing the static text) to the XML instance (containing the variable information) to render a complete legal contract.

The protocol described here uses the XSL style-sheet proposal submitted to the W3C on August 27, 1997. XSL was chosen because:

The XSL style-sheets are a mandatory part of the protocol because it is important that both the offering and accepting parties need not concern themselves with whether the presented legal text really matches that given in this standard. XSL provides an ideal way of encapsulating the static legal text in a format that can be easily processed by XML-aware applications.

The whitepaper can be retrieved from; we would certainly appreciate hearing from the XSL community as well as cryptographers.

Please send any comments about protocol details to Ed Simon (

Thanks in advance,

Ed Simon (Entrust Technologies)

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