Communicating Conspirators

hal@finney.org hal@finney.org
Tue, 23 Nov 1999 15:31:42 -0800


Chip Morningstar, <chip@communities.com>, writes:
> You may be correct in saying I'm equating abilities and rights. In
> our network model these are the same thing. There is obviously some
> additional quality you attribute to rights (in contrast to abilities)
> that you think is important, but I'm still unclear as to what it might
> be. Could you expand on this?

Jumping in here, I think Ralph meant that a "right" was an ability which
was "legal" and intended to be exercised by the designers.  If I design
a system which should give only Alice access to her files, but due to
a loophole Bob gains access, then he has the ability but not the right
to get at those files.

In a perfectly designed system, rights and abilities would be the
same, but in a system with security flaws, they might be different.
(It could also happen that Alice has the right to access her files,
but not the ability, because she forgot her password, for example.)

Hal