dacs_infocard — Information Card administration


dacs_infocard [dacsoptions]


This program is part of the DACS suite.

The dacs_infocard web service is used:

  • to perform a variety of administrative InfoCard functions;

  • as a Relying Party to register a self-issued InfoCard, creating an account that can be used for authentication. InfoCard-based authentication is performed by local_infocard_authenticate, a DACS authentication module. These accounts are used only by local_infocard_authenticate and are completely separate from any other accounts.

  • to act on behalf of a Relying Party to validate and extract claim values from a secure token created from either a self-issued or managed InfoCard.


  • Many Identity Selectors can create a self-issued InfoCard, but you must use dacs_managed_infocard(8) to create a managed InfoCard.

  • If a Relying Party checks that the security token that it receives satisfies the validity window condition expressed by the token, as it typically will, then the system clocks at the IP/STS (e.g., dacs_sts(8)) and Relying Party must be adequately synchronized; see INFOCARD_TOKEN_DRIFT_SECS.

  • Owing to the InfoCard system architecture, a Relying Party need not have network connectivity to a user's IP/STS (e.g., dacs_sts(8)), although the user's browser must. This means, for example, that if a user (or his organization) operates his own IP/STS, it can be located on the same side of a firewall as the user's browser, which may improve the level of security of the IP/STS and any sensitive information it may store and access.

  • Much of the functionality of this program is also available as a DACS utility, dacsinfocard(1), which operates on the same account files.

Accounts are accessed through DACS's virtual filestore using item type infocards.


The official nomenclature for claims can be confusing. In an attempt at consistency and simplification, the DACS documentation tries to adhere to the following definitions (with the stated compile-time limits):


A pair comprising an attribute name (the Claim type) and an attribute value (the Claim value). The attribute value is optional. The number of claims is limited to 10 static claims and 20 dynamic claims.

Claim type

A unique URI that consists of a Claim URI prefix followed by a Claim name. This can be thought of as an attribute name. DACS does not allow the URI to include a query or fragment component. A claim type is never dereferenced, it is merely a label. Only characters that are valid in a URI are allowed; therefore any invalid characters must be properly encoded. Claim types are case sensitive, despite the fact that they are URIs. There is a compile-time length limit: 128 characters for the URI prefix and 32 characters for the claim name.

Claim URI prefix

This URI identifies a namespace in which the Claim name lives (it may not include a query or fragment component). Two claim types with different URI prefixes but the same claim name are distinct. The InfoCard specification uses the namespace http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims for self-issued claims. DACS uses the namespace http://dacs.dss.ca/claims for its claims. These namespaces should be treated as "reserved". User-defined claims should live in other namespaces, preferably ones over which the user has some authority.

Claim URI prefix abbreviation

To avoid the tedious and error-prone task of having to repeatedly enter long Claim URI prefix strings, in designated contexts DACS recognizes (but never requires) an abbreviation. Two case-sensitive abbreviations are defined: "standard" (equivalent to http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims) and "dacs" (equivalent to http://dacs.dss.ca/claims).

Claim name

This is a URI path component. When appended to a Claim URI prefix (or paired with a Claim URI prefix abbreviation), it forms a Claim type. Only characters that are valid in a URI path component are allowed. It is limited to 32 characters.

Claim value

This can be thought of as an attribute value. Technically, this is defined as an xs:string, which is a sequence of XML characters. Claim values are limited to 64 characters.


Web Service Arguments

In addition to the standard CGI arguments, dacs_infocard understands the following CGI arguments:


The following operations are supported:


    Delete the account associated with USERNAME. This effectively revokes the InfoCard; a self-issued InfoCard may be re-registered, but a managed InfoCard becomes unusable.


    The quickest way to delete all accounts is to delete the contents of the infocards item type; e.g., if infocards points to a file, remove the file or copy /dev/null to it.


    Disable the account associated with USERNAME. InfoCard-based authentication on this account will fail; this revokes the InfoCard, but in a reversible way. The request is successful if the account is already disabled.


    Enable the existing account associated with USERNAME. InfoCard-based authentication on this account will be possible. The request is successful if the account is already enabled.

  • LIST

    List all accounts.


    Register or re-register the submitted InfoCard. Exactly one set of credentials must accompany the request, and if registration is successful, the submitted InfoCard becomes associated with that identity.


    If the submitted token is valid, display each claim (attribute) value associated with the ATTRLIST argument, which consists of zero or more claim names separated by a space. If ATTRLIST is absent or the empty string, all claims in the token are displayed (note that this is not necessarily all of the claims associated with the InfoCard). If any requested claim is not found, the request is ignored (i.e., it is not an error). The privatepersonalidentifier claim is displayed in the friendly identifier syntax rather than as a base-64 encoded string. The InfoCard (self-issued or managed) does not need to be registered at the jurisdiction.

    Three syntaxes are recognized for a claim name. Some claims are "predefined" in that they are available in any valid token: issuer, confirm_method, ppid (or privatepersonalidentifier), exponent (self-issued only), and modulus (self-issued only). The second syntax is the full claim URI (e.g., http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims/webpage). The third syntax uses the DACS shorthand: the word "standard" or "dacs", a colon, and the claim name (e.g., standard:webpage). The token is searched for each claim in the ATTRLIST, other than the predefined ones.


    Only the full URI syntax can be used to identify claims in an HTML OBJECT's requiredClaims and optionalClaims param tag.


    Parse the submitted token and test whether it is valid.


This is the submitted InfoCard. It is required for the TOKEN_VALIDATE, TOKEN_ATTRVALS, and REGISTER operations. The AUXILIARY parameter name may only be used for this purpose if the xmlToken parameter name is not also used.


By default, output is emitted in HTML. Several varieties of XML output can be selected, however, using the FORMAT argument (please refer to dacs(1) and dacs_passwd.dtd). A FORMAT of plain may be useful for programs that need to extract claim values; claims are listed one per line with the claim type, followed by an "=", followed by the claim value.


For some operations, the name of the account to act on.

For the DELETE, DISABLE, and ENABLE operations, the request must be submitted by the account's owner or the DACS administrator.

Here is an example of a form that might be used to register a self-issued InfoCard:

<form name="reg_form" id="reg_form" method="post" action="/cgi-bin/dacs/dacs_infocard">
 <img src="/infocards/ic_image.jpg" onClick="reg_form.submit()"/>
<object type="application/x-informationCard" name="xmlToken">
 <param name="tokenType" value="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.0:assertion">
 <param name="issuer" value="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/issuer/self">
 <param name="requiredClaims"
 <param name="privacyUrl" value="https://example.com/infocards/privacy_statement.txt">
 <param Name="privacyVersion" value="3">
<td align="center">
 <input type="submit" name="infocard_register" value="Register" id="infocard_register" />
<input type="hidden" name="OPERATION" value="REGISTER">




The program exits 0 if everything was fine, 1 if an error occurred.


The compile-time limits are fairly arbitrary and only exist to thwart abuse. It should probably be possible to specify them at run-time instead.

XML output is not available yet.

Registration of a self-issued InfoCard uses the card's PPID (Private Personal Identifier), which differs for a given InfoCard for different Relying Parties. The specification does not precisely define how two Relying Party endpoints are compared for equality, but if an identity selector decides that a jurisdiction's endpoint has changed (e.g., its domain name has been reconfigured), all self-issued InfoCards previously registered at the jurisdiction will become unusable until they are re-registered.

This functionality should be integrated with dacs_admin(8).


dacsinfocard(1), dacs.conf(5), dacs_authenticate(8), dacs_managed_infocard(8), Using InfoCards With DACS


Distributed Systems Software (www.dss.ca)


Copyright 2003-2018 Distributed Systems Software. See the LICENSE file that accompanies the distribution for licensing information.

DACS Version 1.4.51 20-Jun-2024 DACS_INFOCARD(8)

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$Id: dacs_infocard.8.xml 3016 2018-08-17 18:12:46Z brachman $