[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: Last Call: draft-ietf-geopriv-radius-lo (Carrying Location Objects in RADIUS
Review of draft-ietf-geopriv-radius-lo-10.txt
Overall, this document includes many normative statements relating
to privacy in a number of sections. As it stands, this makes it very
difficult to understand exactly what privacy support will be provided
in various scenarios. I would strongly urge that these statements
be consolidated into a single section.
In terms of RADIUS protocol usage, there are a few problems
(violation of a MUST NOT provision in RFC 3576, use of non-standard
RADIUS data types, inappropriate use of complex attributes)
There are also a lot of editorial issues that need to be cleaned up.
Given everything, this document requires substantial work before
it would be suitable for publication as an RFC.
Wireless LAN (WLAN) access networks are being deployed in public
places such as airports, hotels, shopping malls, and coffee shops by
a diverse set of operators such as cellular network operators (GSM
and CDMA), Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs), and fixed
As noted later on, these attributes are not limited to use with WLAN
networks, but the relationship to user location is probably stronger
with WLAN or LAN access than other access types. I think you need
to talk about this.
When a user executes the network access authentication procedure to
such a network, information about the location and ownership of this
network needs to be conveyed to the user's home network to which the
user has a contractual relationship.
The use of the term "need" seems wrong here, since
one of the goals of the document is to guard the privacy of location
information, only providing it where there is "need to know".
This document describes AAA attributes, which are used by a AAA
client or a AAA proxy in an access network, to convey location-
related information to the user's home AAA server.
The use of the term "AAA" here is a bit confusing. If the attributes
are applicable to both RADIUS and Diameter, this should be explicitly
Although the proposed attributes in this draft are intended for
wireless LAN deployments, they can also be used in other types of
wireless and wired networks whenever location information is
I'd suggest this paragraph be combined with the first paragraph.
Location information needs to be protected against unauthorized
access and distribution to preserve the user's privacy.  defines
requirements for a protocol-independent model for the access to
geographic location information. The model includes a Location
Generator (LG) that creates location information, a Location Server
(LS) that authorizes access to location information, a Location
Recipient (LR) that requests and receives information, and a Rule
Maker (RM) that provides authorization policies to the LS which
enforces access control policies on requests to location information.
I would talk a bit more about the privacy model in general terms, such
as what protections it is designed to provide.
Based on today's protocols we assume that the location information is
provided by the access network where the end host is attached. As
part of the network attachment authentication to the AAA server
location information is sent from the AAA client to the AAA server.
Earlier, the document refers to use by a AAA proxy. Could you say
a few words about where the information originates (e.g. may originate
on the NAS, or may be added a proxy). Somewhere it is also worth
stating that existing RADIUS attributes may also provide location
information (e.g. NAS-Identifier).
The authenticated identity might refer to a user, a device or
something else. Although there might often be a user associated with
the authentication process (either directly or indirectly; indirectly
when a binding between a device and a user exists) there is no
assurance that a particular real-world entity (such as a person)
triggered this process.
Is the distinction between a user, device or machine identity
relevant for the purposes of a privacy discussion? This paragraph
leaves me wondering whether there is a legal distinction that
is relevant to the protocol design.
Since location based authorization is
executed based on the network access authentication of a particular
"user" it might be reasonable to talk about user's privacy within
this document even though scenarios exist where this might not apply
(and device or network privacy might be the better term).
Maybe you need to define the term "user" in the document as being
either a user, device or machine identity in order to clarify this.
Furthermore, the authors believe that there is a relationship between
the NAS (or other nodes in the access network) and the location of
the entity that triggered the network access authentication, such as
Why? If the NAS is a VPN server, then the user might be located halfway
around the world. Might make more sense to say "depending on the
type of access being provided, there may be a close relationship...."
You might give examples:
1) WLAN has limited range when deployed with an omni-directional
antenna, so user is probably close to the NAS in geospatial
(but not necessarily civil) terms. Also, some WLAN
access points can use "time of arrival" or other processing
techniques to determine user location accurately;
2) In LAN access, the user can't be further away from the switch
than cable length will permit.
3) Dialup or VPN user could be very far away from the NAS;
If you talk about this a bit, it might help clarify why the document
is mostly for WLAN/LAN access.
The NAS might in many cases know the location of the end
host through various techniques (e.g., wire databases, wireless
triangulation). Knowing the location of a network (where the user or
end host is attached) might in many networks also reveal enough
information about the location of the user or the end host. A
similar assumption is also made with regard to the location
information obtained via DHCP (see for example ).
The DHCP case might be analagous to WLAN/LAN, but it is not analagous
to the case of VPN or dialup access where the NAS and user could be
separated by thousands of miles.
information might be used by applications in other protocols (such as
SIP  with extensions ) to indicate the location of a
particular user even though the location "only" refers to the
location of the network or equipment within the network. This
assumption might not hold in all scenarios but seems to be reasonable
I think you need to say that the assumption can be presumed to hold
for certain values of the NAS-Port-Type attribute (e.g. LAN or
WLAN access). In others it may not hold.
Location Objects, which consist of location information and privacy
rules, are transported via the RADIUS protocol from the AAA client to
the AAA server. A few attributes are introduced for this purpose, as
listed in Section 5, whereby delivery to the RADIUS server can happen
during the authentication/authorization phase (described in
Section 3.1), or in the mid-session using the dynamic authorization
protocol framework (described in Section 3.2). This section
describes messages flows for both delivery methods.
To me, it makes more sense to talk about what packets the location
information can be delivered in, rather than "phases". For example,
location is delivered in Access-Request or Accounting-Request packets.
Whether the Access-Request was triggered by dynamic authorization or
a new user login is not important. Also, this paragraph seems to suggest
that dynamic authorization is required to obtain mid-session location
information. Since location can be provided interim accounting packets,
this is not really true. Perhaps the point is that dynamic authorization
allows the information to be provided on demand.
Figure 1 shows an example message flow for delivering location
information during the network access authentication and
authorization procedure. Upon a network authentication request from
an access network client, the NAS submits a RADIUS Access-Request
message that contains location information attributes among other
required attributes. These attributes are added based on various
criteria (such as local policy, business relationship with
subscriber's home network provider and in case of location
information also by considering privacy policies).
Even though Figure 1 mentions "out of band agreement" the text doesn't
elaborate on what this means.
Since Figure 1 shows location information provided in
an Accounting-Request, the first sentence isn't quite right.
Given the privacy issues, I think you need to qualify what
"location information" means in the second sentence. Do you
mean that the user location is being supplied by the NAS?
I think you need to say something about the default settings
(e.g. location provided, or not?) Backward compatiblity issues
also probably deserve some discussion here. You might say
a few words about when this flow might occur (e.g. challenge-incapable
Figure 1 uses the term "Network Access Client" which isn't
defined in terminology or used in other RADIUS RFCs. I would change
all uses of this term to "User".
If the AAA server needs to obtain location information also in
accounting messages then it needs to include a Requested-Info
attribute to the Access-Accept to express that is desired (if privacy
policy allow it) and the Network Access Server SHOULD then include
location information to the RADIUS accounting messages .
I think you should say something about the packets within which the
location information can be delivered in Section 1. Something like:
"This document enables a RADIUS server to request the delivery of
location information within Access-Request packets, or additionally,
within Accounting-Request packets."
This section is problematic since it specifies RADIUS attribute
usage prohibited by RFC 3576 Section 3, which states:
Where a Service-Type Attribute with value "Authorize Only" is
included within a CoA-Request or Disconnect-Request, attributes
representing an authorization change MUST NOT be included; only
identification attributes are permitted.
If the desire is to change the location information being provided
(e.g. to turn on location in accounting packets, or deliver different
types of location) why couldn't a CoA-Request be sent without an
"Authorization-Only" Service-Type? If the desire is to request
location immediately, couldn't this be encoded in the Request-Info
attribute? There seem to be ways to achieve the goal without
violating RFC 3576.
Later on in the section, it is stated:
Since location information can be sent in accounting records
(including accounting interim records), RFC 3576  is only needed
for authorization changes.
Given this, it would appear that the need to obtain location mid-session
is best met by another technique, and that use of CoA-Request packets
is only a corner case. Given that RFC 3576 is not widely implemented,
I'd expect the accounting approach to be more applicable, at least
without an explanation about why this isn't a good idea (e.g. might
not need location info with each interim accounting update).
Also, this section doesn't talk about when a RADIUS server can
send a CoA-Request containing a Request-Info attribute. Wouldn't
this be restricted to cases where the NAS has previously included
a Location-Information or Challenge-Capable attribute?
I'm not clear this section should exist as a standalone entity. It might
be best to delete Section 4.2 entirely and integrate Section 4.1 with
Sections 1 or 2.
The home network operator requires location information for
authorization and billing purposes. The operator may deny service if
location information is not available, or it may offer limited
service only. The NAS delivers location information to the home AAA
The location of the AAA client and/or the end host is transferred
from the NAS to the RADIUS server (based on a pre-established
agreement or if the RADIUS server asks for it under consideration of
privacy policies). The NAS and intermediaries (if any) are not
allowed to use that information other than to forward it to the home
Are the terms "NAS" and "AAA client" used interchangeably here? If so,
can we primarily use one term (NAS seems best)?
The NAS and intermediaries (if any) are not
allowed to use that information other than to forward it to the home
Intermediaries (e.g. AAA proxies) sometimes log Accounting-Request
packets, since they may need them for billing purposes. Since billing is
one of the uses of location information, I don't think you can prohibit
that. Also, what does it mean for the NAS to "use" location information?
Some NASes have stable storage, so they might write Accounting-Request
packets to stable storage prior to delivery. Or they might retain
location information in memory. Do you mean that that the NAS or proxies
can't provide the location information to unauthorized parties? Or do you
mean that proxies MUST respect the privacy policies they receive from the
The RADIUS server authenticates and authorizes the user requesting
access to the network. If the user's location policies are available
to the RADIUS server, the RADIUS server MUST deliver those policies
in an Access Accept to the RADIUS client. This information MAY be
needed if intermediaries or other elements want to act as Location
Servers (see Section 4.2). If the NAS or intermediaries do not
receive policies from the RADIUS server (or the end host itself) then
they MUST NOT make any use of the location information other than
forwarding it to the user's home network.
I would name the specific attributes rather than just saying "location
policies". You are essentially saying that some attributes MUST be
included in an Access-Accept packet. The last sentence is somewhat
more specific than just saying "allowed to use that information".
Location Information may also be reported in accounting messages.
Accounting messages are generated when the session starts, stops and
periodically. Accounting messages may also be generated when the
user roams during handoff. This information may be needed by the
billing system to calculate the user's bill. For example, there may
be different tariffs or tax rates applied based on the location.
Unless otherwise specified by authorization rules, location
information in the accounting stream MUST NOT be transmitted to third
Most of this paragraph probably belongs in Section 1 of the document.
I'm unsure what the last sentence means. I think that the part of
the last sentence from "location..." should probably be combined with
the next sentence, to clarify it:
Location information in the accounting stream MUST only be sent in
the proxy chain to the home network (unless specified otherwise).
For example, you might say "Location attributes contained within
Accounting-Request packets MUST only be made available to entities
on the proxy chain between the NAS and the home accounting
Location Servers are entities that receive the user's location
information and transmit it to other entities. In this second
scenario, Location Servers comprise also the NAS and the RADIUS
server. The RADIUS servers are in the home network, in the visited
network, or in broker networks.
Unless explicitly authorized by the user's location policy, location
information MUST NOT be transmitted to other parties outside the
proxy chain between the NAS and the Home RADIUS server.
Upon authentication and authorization, the home RADIUS server MUST
transmit the ruleset (if available) in an Access-Accept. The RADIUS
client, intermediate proxies are allowed to share location
information if they received ruleset indicates that it is allowed.
Is a "Location Server" somehow different from an entity eligible
to receive location information as described in the previous section?
I'm unclear whether this section is saying anything different from
Section 4.1 with respect to handling of user location information.
The Operator-Name attribute SHOULD be sent in Access-Request, and
Accounting-Request records where the Acc-Status-Type is set to Start,
Interim, or Stop.
Is this attribute only sent in these packets? If so, I would say:
"MAY only be sent in Access-Request and Accounting-Request..."
The Value type is restricted to use with Integers. I think that we
are talking about a String here, no?
The Location-Information attribute SHOULD be sent in Access-Request
and in Accounting-Request messages. For the Accounting-Request
message the Acc-Status-Type may be set to Start, Interim or Stop.
Is the intent that these attributes are only sent in Access-Request
and Accounting-Request messages? If so, say "MAY only be sent in..."
I think you are talking about a String type attribute, not an integer,
The 16-bit unsigned integer value allows to associate
the Location-Information attribute with
Location-Info-Civic and Location-Info-Geo
This is not a complete sentence. I think you need to explain that
this attribute is used to provide information relating to the
information included in the Location-Info-Civic and
Location-Info-Geo attributes to which it refers (via the Index).
You should probably also state that this attribute is largely treated
as an opaque blob, like the Location-Info-Civic and Location-Info-Geo
attributes to which it refers. As a result, it is not expected that
RADIUS servers will need to change code to receive this attribute
(although location applications would have to parse it).
Location-Info-Civic attribute SHOULD be sent in Access-Request and in
Accounting-Request messages. For the Accounting-Request message the
Acc-Status-Type may be set to Start, Interim or Stop.
Change to "MAY only be sent..." if that is the intent.
Please change "Value" to "String".
The 16-bit unsigned integer value allows to associate
the Location-Info-Civic attribute with the
Is there an implication that multiple Location-Information attributes
will have the same Index value? That doesn't make sense to me.
Location-Info-Geo attribute SHOULD be sent in Access-Request, and
Accounting-Request records where the Acc-Status-Type is set to Start,
Interim or Stop if available.
Change to "MAY only be sent" if that is the intent.
Change "Value" to "String"
Should the title be "Basic-Policy-Rules Attribute"?
Policy rules control the distribution of location location
information. In some environments the the AAA client might know the
privacy preferences of the user based on pre-configuration or the
user communicated them as part of the network attachment.
This seems somewhat unlikely. Do any existing access protocols support
user-provided privacy policies? Or are we talking about generic
NAS privacy settings here?
Basic-Policy-Rules attribute SHOULD be sent in an an Access-Request,
Access-Accept, an Access-Challenge, an Access-Reject and an
I think you mean "MAY be sent in an Access-Request..."
o The AAA client SHOULD NOT attach location information in the
initial Access-Request message but should rather wait for the AAA
server to receive a challenge for location information.
I think you mean "for the AAA server to send an Access-Challenge..."
I think you are instead saying that "absent NAS settings
to the contrary, the default is..." This probably should be clarified.
o If a roamig agreement or legal circumstances require the AAA
roamig -> roaming
client to transfer location information in the initial Access-
Request message to the AAA server (even though user specific
policies are not available to the AAA client) then the access
network attaches default authorization policies.
Are you saying that a Basic Policy Rules attribute MUST accompany
a Location-Information, Location-Info-Geo or Location-Info-Civic
The 'retransmission-allowed' flag MUST be set to '0' meaning
that the location must not be shared with other parties (other than
forarding them to the user's home network).
Are we saying that sharing of location information is controlled by the
're-transmission-allowed' flag and that parties MUST respect the flag?
This seems to contradict earlier MUST statements (which seem to imply
that sharing is not permitted, regardless of the flag value).
In case the home
network knows the user's privacy policies then these policies
SHOULD be sent from the RADIUS server to the RADIUS client in a
subsequent response message and these policies will be applied to
further location dissemination and in subsequent RADIUS
interactions (e.g., when attaching location information to
What kind of response message? Do you mean Access-Challenge here
or Access-Accept? Is there a reason why a RADIUS server would refuse
to disclose the user's privacy policies? Should those policies
ever be considered private?
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
| Flags | Retention Expires ...
| Retention Expires ...
| Retention Expires | Note Well ...
| Note Well ...
The design of this attribute is problematic. It is different from
other complex attributes in that it is sent by the RADIUS server,
and the inclusion of timestamps implies that it needs to be computed
dynamically, rather than treated as an opaque blob.
Also, there is an implication elsewhere in the document that the
retransmission bit needs to be respected by RADIUS proxies. Most
existing RADIUS proxies cannot be configured to look at a specific
octet in an attribute, so this will not be possible.
Is there a reason that this could not be split into separate
unitary attributes, say, one for Retransmission, one for
Retention-Expires and another for Privacy-Policy? The "Retention Expires"
attribute would a 64-bit
Long Integer, the Flags would be a 32-bit integer
and the Note Well would be a string.
This would be much more compatible with the design of existing
RADIUS servers and proxies and would enable privacy policies to
The Extended-Policy-Rules attribute SHOULD be sent in an Access-
Request, an Access-Accept, an Access-Challenge, an Access-Reject and
in an Accounting-Request message whenever location information is
Do we mean "MAY be sent" here?
I think "String" should be used here instead of "Value"
Why is Length >=4 (rather than 3)?
Why is the Challenge-Capable attribute defined if it is always
set to 0? Is the presence of the attribute sufficient to indicate
that the NAS is capable of being challenged so that the value
It would make more sense for this to be a 32-bit integer value
that only has a single value defined (1) indicating that the
NAS is capable of being challenged.
The Requested-Info attribute allows the RADIUS server to indicate
whether it needs civic and/or geospatial location information of the
NAS or the end host (i.e., the entities that are indicated in the
Entity field of the Location-Information attribute).
Can't the RADIUS server ask for both NAS and end host information?
2. If the RADIUS server does not receive the requested
information in response to the Access-Challenge (including the
Requested-Info attribute) then the RADIUS server responds with
an Access-Reject with an Error-Cause attribute (including the
"Location-Info-Required" value). Note that an Access-Reject
message SHOULD only be sent if the RADIUS server MUST use
location information for returning a positive access control
The combination of SHOULD and MUST is confusing. I think you mean to
say that an Access-Reject MUST only be sent if the RADIUS server
requires location information, but does not receive it, right?
This is typically the case when location
information is used for inclusion to the user's bill only.
Rephrase to "is used only for billing".
If the RADIUS server does not send a Requested-Info attribute then
the RADIUS client MUST NOT attach location information to messages to
the RADIUS server. The user's authorization policies, if available,
MUST be consulted by the RADIUS server before requesting location
information delivery from the RADIUS client.
But earlier it is said that the NAS may send location information by
correct? Or is an exception being made?
Figure 11 probably belongs earlier in the document.
The Requested-Info attribute MUST be sent by the RADIUS server if it
wants the RADIUS client to return civic and/or geospatial
information. This Requested-Info attribute MAY appear in the Access-
Accept or in the Access-Challenge message.
Earlier it seems to imply that the NAS could sent location information
by out-of-band agreement. So do you mean to say "in the absence of
an out-of-band agreement..."?
Requested-Info (64 bits):
This text field contains an integer value that encodes the
requested information attributes.
Each capability value represents a bit position.
It would be clearer to just say that the Requested-Info attribute
defines a bit field, where the information on CIVIC_LOCATION,
GEO_LOCATION, USERS_LOCATION, and NAS_LOCATION can be requested.
BTW, why is a 64-bit value required? wouldn't 32-bits do as well?
Location-Information attributes are sent then they MUST NOT contain
the same information.
Does this mean "must not have the same Index field?" Or does it mean
that they must not be identical in all respects?
o The visited network is able to learn the user's identity.
I think you need a reference to NAI privacy (e.g. RFC 4282 or 4372) here.
This section interrupts the document flow; it would better belong in
Two entities might act as Location Servers as shown in Section 4, in
Figure 16 and in Figure 17:
I think the sentence should end with a period, not a colon, right?
In this scenario it is difficult to obtain authorization policies
from the end host (or user) immediately when the user attaches to the
network. In this case we have to assume that the visited network
does not allow unrestricted distribution of location information to
other than the intended recipients (e.g., to third party entities).
When the AAA messages traverses one or more broker networks, the
broker network is bound by the same guidelines as the visited network
with respect to the distribution of location information.
Are you just saying that proxies need to respect the 'retransmission' bit?
In practice, they won't be able to do that because their policy engines
operate at the attribute, not bit level. You'll need to have an
individual attribute for retransmission if you want this to work.
The visited network MUST behave according to the following
o Per default only the home network is allowed to receive location
information. The visited network MUST NOT distribute location
information to third parties without seeing the user's privacy
Are you saying that the lack of distribution is the default, absent
receipt of privacy policies to the contrary? I'd suggest that this
be stated earlier on.
o If the RADIUS client in the visited network learns the basic rule
set or a reference to the extended rule set by means outside the
RADIUS protocol (e.g., provided by the end host) then it MUST
include the Basic-Policy-Rules and the Extended-Policy-Rules
attribute in the Access-Request message towards the home AAA
server. Furthermore, the visited network MUST evaluate these
rules prior to the transmission of location information either to
the home network or a third party. The visited network MUST
follow the guidance given with these rules.
This seems quite unlikely. Is there a reference to a specification
where this is proposed?
o If the RADIUS client in the visited network receives the Basic-
Policy-Rules attribute with Access-Accept or the Access-Challenge
message then the Basic-Policy-Rules MUST be attach in subsequent
RADIUS messages which contain the Location-Information attribute
(such as interim accounting messages).
attach -> attached
You need to include this statement in the Attribute Table section 6.
Doesn't it apply to all NASes, not just a visited network?
o If the RADIUS client in the visited network receives the Extended-
Policy-Rules attribute with Access-Accept or the Access-Challenge
message then the Basic-Policy-Rules attribute MUST be attach in
subsequent RADIUS messages which contain the Location-Information
attribute (such as interim accounting messages).
attach -> attached
I think this needs to be included in the Attribute Table section 6.
Doesn't it apply to all NASes, not just a Visited network?
If no authorization information is provided by the user
then the visited network MUST set the authorization policies to only
allow the home AAA server to use the provided location information.
This seems to contradict Figure 1 which shows location
information sent by out-of-band agreement without any policy attributes.
It is necessary to use authorization policies to limit the
unauthorized distribution of location information. The security
requirements which are created based on  are inline with threats
which appear in the relationship with disclosure of location
information as described in . PIDF-LO  proposes S/MIME to
protect the Location Object against modifications. S/SIME relies on
public key cryptography which raises performance, deployment and size
considerations. Encryption would require that the local AAA server
or the NAS knows the recipient's public key (e.g., the public key of
the home AAA server).
So are we saying that the location information attributes can be encrypted
in some cases, so that the privacy concerns are not applicable? But the
attributes don't support this, right?
Knowing the final recipient of the location
information is in many cases difficult for RADIUS entities.
Specifically, RADIUS clients only deal with RADIUS servers that are one
to unsubscribe send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with
the word 'unsubscribe' in a single line as the message text body.