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From Jan Bot <>
Subject Re: Cryptograhically signed docs...
Date Wed, 04 Jul 2012 18:40:01 GMT

This would really be a great feature: I'm using CouchDB to manage grid
compute jobs and having the ability to sign a document using a private key
and check it server side with the public key could really make couchdb part
of the grid infrastructure.



On Wed, Jul 4, 2012 at 11:17 AM, Albin Stigö <> wrote:

> Hi,
> Jens, thanks for the link. Did you ever finish the app where you were
> using these techniques?
> First I naively thought that it would be enough to hash the body of
> what you are going to PUT/POST and then sign that hash and include the
> signature as a custom http header. I guess this would work for
> verifying the data on the first post but you would not be able to
> verify the signature later if couchdb does any parsing of the
> transported data.
> What you are suggesting using a canonical representation of of JSON
> seems like a much better idea it also apparently what oauth uses.
> I guess this would require some hacking on couchdb. It would be really
> neat to have a _keys database much like the _users and for for
> documents to have a _signature field. What do you thin..?
> --Albin
> On Wed, Jul 4, 2012 at 3:07 AM, Jens Alfke <> wrote:
> >
> > On Jul 3, 2012, at 10:01 AM, Jim Klo wrote:
> >
> >> Yes, and as a matter of fact, i just got digital signature validation
> using OpenPGP within a map function working a few minutes ago!
> >> Here's a link to the relevant code:
> >
> > As far as I can tell, this code uses a data schema where the signed
> contents are wrapped in some kind of OpenPGP encoding:
> >
> >>         var msg_list =
> openpgp.read_message(doc.digital_signature.signature);
> >>         for (var i=0; i<msg_list.length; i++) {
> >>             isValid |= msg_list[i].verifySignature();
> >>         }
> >
> > It looks like msg_list is the actual document payload, which has to be
> decoded using openpgp.read_message.
> >
> > This is IMHO not a very good solution because it hides the document
> contents away — for example, all the map functions and any app logic that
> uses documents will have to know to call read_message, which will also make
> them slower.
> >
> > The schema I implemented (see my previous message) doesn't alter the
> basic document format. The signature is in a nested object but applies to
> the entire document contents (minus the signature itself of course).
> There's no need to change any code that reads documents; the only time you
> have to know about the signature scheme is while verifying the signature.
> It's even possible to have multiple signatures on a document.
> >
> > —Jens

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