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An Architecture for Trustworthy and Transparent Digital Supply Chains

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This is an older version of an Internet-Draft whose latest revision state is "Replaced".
Authors Henk Birkholz , Antoine Delignat-Lavaud , Cedric Fournet
Last updated 2022-03-07
Replaced by draft-ietf-scitt-architecture
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TBD                                                          H. Birkholz
Internet-Draft                                            Fraunhofer SIT
Intended status: Standards Track                      A. Delignat-Lavaud
Expires: 8 September 2022                                     C. Fournet
                                                      Microsoft Research
                                                            7 March 2022

 An Architecture for Trustworthy and Transparent Digital Supply Chains


   Traceability of physical and digital artifacts in supply chains is a
   long-standing, but increasingly serious security concern.  The rise
   in popularity of verifiable data structures as a mechanism to make
   actors more accountable for breaching their compliance promises has
   found some successful applications to specific use cases (such as the
   supply chain for digital certificates), but lacks a generic and
   scalable architecture that can address a wider range of use cases.

   This memo defines a generic and scalable architecture to enable
   transparency across any supply chain with minimum adoption barriers
   for producers (who can register their claims on any TS, with the
   guarantee that all consumers will be able to verify them) and enough
   flexibility to allow different implementations of Transparency
   Services with various auditing and compliance requirements.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on 8 September 2022.

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2022 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (
   license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document.
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
   and restrictions with respect to this document.  Code Components
   extracted from this document must include Revised BSD License text as
   described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are
   provided without warranty as described in the Revised BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.1.  Requirements Notation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   2.  Use Cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.1.  Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.2.  Confidential Computing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     2.3.  Cold Chains for Seafood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   3.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   4.  Definition of Transparency  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   5.  Architecture Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     5.1.  Claim Issuance  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       5.1.1.  Issuer Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       5.1.2.  Naming Artifacts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       5.1.3.  Claim Metadata  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     5.2.  Transparency Service (TS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       5.2.1.  Service Identity, Remote Attestation, and Keying  . .  12
       5.2.2.  Registration Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       5.2.3.  Ledger Security Requirements  . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     5.3.  Verifying Transparent Claims  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   6.  Claim Issuance, Registration, and Verification  . . . . . . .  18
     6.1.  Envelope and Claim Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
     6.2.  Claim Issuance  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
     6.3.  Registering Signed Claims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
     6.4.  Validation of Transparent Claims  . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   7.  Federation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
   8.  Transparency Service API  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     8.1.  Messages  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
       8.1.1.  Register Signed Claims  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
       8.1.2.  Retrieve Registration Receipt . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
   9.  Privacy Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
   10. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
   11. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
   12. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25

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     12.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
     12.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
   Appendix A.  Attic  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26

1.  Introduction

   This document describes a scalable and flexible decentralized
   architecture to enhance auditability and accountability in various
   existing and emerging supply chains.  It achieves this goal by
   enforcing the following complementary security guarantees:

   1.  statements made by issuers about supply chain artifacts must be
       identifiable, authentic, and non-repudiable;

   2.  such statements must be registered on a secure append-only ledger
       so that their provenance and history can be independently and
       consistently audited;

   3.  issuers can efficiently prove to any other party the registration
       of their claims; verifying this proof ensures that the issuer is
       consistent and non-equivocal when making claims.

   The first guarantee is achieved by requiring issuers to sign their
   statements and associated metadata using a distributed public key
   infrastructure.  The second guarantee is achieved by storing the
   signed statement on an immutable, append-only, transparent ledger.
   The last guarantee is achieved by implementing the ledger using a
   verifiable data structure (such as a Merkle Tree), and by requiring a
   transparency service (TS) that operates the ledger to endorse its
   state at the time of registration.

   The guarantees and techniques used in this document generalize those
   of Certificate Transparency [RFC9162], which can be re-interpreted as
   an instance of this architecture for the supply chain of X.509
   certificates.  However, the range of use cases and applications in
   this document is much broader, which requires much more flexibility
   in how each TS implements and operates its ledger.  Each service may
   enforce its own policy for authorizing entities to register their
   claims on the TS.  Some TS may also enforce access control policies
   to limit who can audit the full ledger, or keep some information on
   the ledger encrypted.  Nevertheless, it is critical to provide global
   interoperability for all TS instances as the composition and
   configuration of involved supply chain entities and their system
   components is ever changing and always in flux.

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   A TS provides visibility into claims issued by supply chain entities
   and their sub-systems.  These claims are called Digital Supply Chain
   Artifacts (DSCA).  A TS vouches for specific and well-defined
   metadata about these DSCAs.  Some metadata is selected (and signed)
   by the issuer, indicating, e.g., "who issued the DSCA" or "what type
   of DSCA is described" or "what is the DSCA version"; whereas
   additional metadata is selected (and countersigned) by the TS,
   indicating, e.g., "when was the DSCA registered in the ledger".  The
   DSCA contents can be opaque to the TS, if so desired: it is the
   metadata that must always be transparent in order to warrant trust.

   Transparent claims provide a common basis for holding issuers
   accountable for the DSCA they release and (more generally) principals
   accountable for auxiliary claims they make about DSCAs.  Hence,
   issuers may register new claims about their artifacts, but they
   cannot delete or alter earlier claims, or hide their claims from
   third parties such as auditors.

   Trust in the TS itself is supported both by protecting their
   implementation (using, for instance, replication, trusted hardware,
   and remote attestation of systems) and by enabling independent audits
   of the correctness and consistency of its ledger, thereby holding the
   organization accountable that operates it.  Unlike CT, where
   independent auditors are responsible for enforcing the consistency of
   multiple independent instances of the same global ledger, we require
   each TS to guarantee the consistency of its own ledger (for instance,
   through the use of a consensus algorithm between replicas of the
   ledger), but assume no consistency between different transparency

   The TS specified in this architecture caters to two types of

   1.  DSCA Issuers: entities, stakeholders, and users involved in
       supply chain interactions that need to release DSCAs to a
       definable set of peers; and

   2.  DSCA Consumers: entities, stakeholders, and users involved in
       supply chain interactions that need to access, validate, and
       trust DSCAs.

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   DSCA Issuers rely on being discoverable and represented as the
   responsible parties for released DSCAs by the TS in a believable
   manner.  Analogously, DSCA Consumers rely on verifiable
   trustworthiness assertions associated with DSCAs and their processing
   in a believable manner.  If trust can be put into the operations that
   record DSCAs in a secure, append-only ledger via an online operation,
   the same trust can be put into a corresponding receipt that is the
   result of these online operations issued by the TS and that can be
   validated in offline operations.

   The TS specified in this architecture can be implemented by various
   different types of services in various types of languages provided
   via various variants of API layouts.

   The global interoperability enabled and guaranteed by the TS is
   enabled via core components (architectural constituents) that come
   with prescriptive requirements (that are typically hidden away from
   the user audience via APIs).  The core components are based on the
   Concise Signing and Encryption standard specified in [RFC8152], which
   is used to sign released DSCAs and to build and maintain a Merkle
   tree that functions as the append-only ledger for DSCAs.  The format
   and verification process for ledger-based transparency receipts are
   described in [I-D.birkholz-scitt-receipts].

1.1.  Requirements Notation

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
   BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

2.  Use Cases

   This section presents representative and solution-agnostic use cases
   to illustrate the scope of SCITT and the processing of Digital Supply
   Chain Artifacts.

2.1.  Software Bill of Materials (SBOM)

   As the ever increasing complexity of large software projects requires
   more modularity and abstractions to manage them, keeping track of
   their full Trusted Computing Base (TCB) is becoming increasingly
   difficult.  Each component may have its own set of dependencies and
   libraries.  Some of these dependencies are binaries, which means
   their TCB depends not only on their source, but also on their build
   environment (compilers and tool-chains).  Besides, many source and
   binary packages are distributed through various channels and

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   repositories that may not be trustworthy.

   Software Bills of Materials (SBOM) help the authors, packagers,
   distributors, auditors and users of software understand its
   provenance and who may have the ability to introduce a vulnerability
   that can affect the supply chain downstream.  However, the usefulness
   of SBOM in protecting end users is limited if supply chain actors
   cannot be held accountable for their contents.  For instance,
   consider a package repository for an open source operating system
   distribution.  The operator of this repository may decide to provide
   a malicious version of a package only to users who live in a specific
   country.  They can write two equivocal SBOMs for the honest and
   backdoored versions of the package, so that nobody outside the
   affected country can discover the malicious version, but victims are
   not aware they are being targeted.

2.2.  Confidential Computing

   Confidential Computing can leverage hardware-protected trusted
   execution environments (TEEs) to operate cloud services that protect
   the confidentiality of data that they process.  It relies on remote
   attestation, which allows the service to prove to remote users what
   is the hash of its software, as measured and signed by the hardware.

   For instance, consider a speech recognition service that implements
   machine learning inference using a deep neural network model.  The
   operator of the service wants to prove to its users that the service
   preserves the user's privacy, that is, the submitted recordings can
   only be used to detect voice commands but no other purpose (such as
   storing the recordings or detecting mentions of brand names for
   advertisement purposes).  When the user connects to the TEE
   implementing the service, the TEE presents attestation evidence that
   includes a hardware certificate and a software measurement for their
   task; the user verifies this evidence before sending its recording.

   But how can users verify the software measurement for their task?
   And how can operators update their service, e.g., to mitigate
   security vulnerabilities or improve accuracy, without first
   convincing all users to update the measurements they trust?

   A supply chain that maintains a transparent record of the successive
   software releases for machine-learning models and runtimes, recording
   both their software measurements and their provenance (source code,
   build reports, audit reports,...) can provide users with the
   information they need to authorize these tasks, while holding the
   service operator accountable for the software they release for them.

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2.3.  Cold Chains for Seafood

   Once seafood is caught, its quality is determined -- amongst other
   criteria -- via the integrity of a cold chain that ensures a
   regulatory perspective freshness mandating a continuous storing
   temperature between 1 °C and 0 °C (or -18 °C and lower for frozen
   seafood).  The temperature is recorded by cooling units adhering to
   certain compliance standards automatically.  Batches of seafood can
   be split or aggregated before arriving in a shelf so that each unit
   can potentially have a potentially unique cold chain record whose
   transparency impacts the accuracy of the shelf-life associated with
   it.  Especially in early links of the supply chain, Internet
   connection or sophisticated IT equipment are typically not available
   and sometimes temperature measurements are recorded manually and
   digital records are created in hindsight.

3.  Terminology

   The terms defined in this section have special meaning in the context
   of Supply Chain Integrity, Transparency, and Trust throughout this
   document.  When used in text, the corresponding terms are
   capitalized.  To ensure readability, only a core set of terms is
   included in this section.

   Artifact:  the physical or non-physical item that is moving along the
      supply chain.

   Statement:  any serializable information about an Artifact.  To help
      interpretation of Statements, they must be tagged with a media
      type (as specified in [RFC6838]).

   Claim:  an identifiable and non-repudiable Statement about an
      Artifact made by an Issuer.  In SCITT, Claims are encoded as COSE
      signed objects; the payload of the COSE structure contains the

   Issuer:  creator of Claims submitted to a Transparency Service for
      Registration.  The Issuer may be the owner or author of the
      Artifact, or a completely independent third party.

   Envelope:  the metadata added to the Statement by the Issuer to make
      it a Claim.  It contains the identity of the Issuer and other
      information to help Verifiers identify the Artifact referred in
      the Statement.  A Claim binds the Envelope to the Statement.  In
      COSE, the Envelope consists of protected headers.

   Feed:  An identifier chosen by the Issuer for the Artifact.  For

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      every Issuer and Feed, the Ledger on a Transparency Service
      contains a sequence of Claims about the same Artifact.  In COSE,
      Feed is one header attributes in the protected header of the

   Ledger:  the verifiable data structure that stores Claims in a
      transparency service.  SCITT supports multiple Ledger formats to
      accommodate different transparency service implementations, such
      as historical Merkle Trees and sparse Merkle Trees.

   Transparency Service:  the entity that maintains and extends the
      Ledger, and endorses its state.  A Transparency Service can be a
      complex distributed system, and SCITT requires the TS to provide
      many security guarantees about its Ledger.  The identity of a TS
      is captured by a public key that must be known by Verifiers in
      order to validate Receipts.

   Receipt:  a Receipt is a special form of COSE countersignature for
      Claims that embeds cryptographic evidence that the Claim is
      recorded in the Ledger.  It consists of a Ledger-specific
      inclusion proof, a signature by the Transparency Service of the
      state of the Ledger, and additional metadata (contained in the
      countersignature protected headers) to assist in auditing.

   Registration:  the process of submitting a Claim to a Transparency
      Service, applying its registration policy, storing it in the
      Ledger and producing the Receipt returned to the submitter.

   Transparent Claim:  a Claim that is augmented with a Receipt of its
      registration.  A Transparent Claim remains a valid Claim (as the
      Receipt is carried in the countersignature), and may be registered
      again in a different TS.

   Verifier:  the entity that consumes Transparent Claims, verifying
      their proofs and inspecting their Statements, either before using
      their Artifacts, or later to audit their supply chain.

4.  Definition of Transparency

   In this document, we use a definition of transparency built over
   abstract notions of Ledgers and Receipts.  Existing transparency
   systems such as Certificate Transparency are instances of this

   A Claim is an identifiable and non-repudiable Statement made by an
   Issuer.  The Issuer selects additional metadata and attaches a proof
   of endorsement (in most cases, a signature) using the identity key of
   the Issuer that binds the Statement and its metadata.  Claims can be

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   made transparent by attaching a proof of Registration by a TS, in the
   form of a Receipt that countersigns the Claim and witnesses its
   inclusion in the Ledger of a TS.  By extension, we may say an
   Artifact (e.g. a firmware binary) is transparent if it comes with one
   or more Transparent Claims from its author or owner, though the
   context should make it clear what type of Claim is expected for a
   given Artifact.

   Transparency does not prevent dishonest or compromised Issuers, but
   it holds them accountable: any Artifact that may be used to target a
   particular user that checks for Receipts must have been recorded in
   the tamper-proof Ledger, and will be subject to scrutiny and auditing
   by other parties.

   Transparency is implemented by a Ledger that provides a consistent,
   append-only, publicly available record of entries.  Implementations
   of TS may protect their Ledger using a combination of trusted
   hardware, replication and consensus protocols, and cryptographic
   evidence.  A Receipt is an offline, universally-verifiable proof that
   an entry is recorded in the edger.  Receipts do not expire, but it is
   possible to append new entries that subsume older entries.

   Anyone with access to the Ledger can independently verify its
   consistency and review the complete list of Claims registered by each
   Issuer.  However, the Ledgers of separate Transparency Services are
   generally disjoint, though it is possible to take a Claim from one
   Ledger and register it again on another (if its policy allows it), so
   the authorization of the Issuer and of the Ledger by the Verifier of
   the Receipt are generally independent.

   Reputable Issuers are thus incentivized to carefully review their
   Statements before signing them into Claims.  Similarly, reputable TS
   are incentivized to secure their Ledger, as any inconsistency can
   easily be pinpointed by any auditor with read access to the Ledger.
   Some Ledger formats may also support consistency auditing through
   Receipts, that is, given two valid Receipts the TS may be asked to
   produce a cryptographic proof that they are consistent.  Failure to
   produce this proof can indicate that the TS operator misbehaved.

5.  Architecture Overview

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                   v                      +------------------+
    Issuer    -> Statement    Envelope    | DID Key Manifest |
                   \           /          |  (decentraized)  |
                    \         /           +------------------+
                     \ ______/               |     |
                         |                   |     |
                         v        signature  |     |
                       Claim  <--------------/     |
                         |                         |
                         |   Receipt   +--------+  |
   Transparency ->       +-------------| Ledger |  /
   Service               |             +--------+ X
                         v                       / \
                    Transparent                 /   \
                       Claim                   /    |
                         |\                   /     |
                         | \                 /      |
                         |  \               /       |
   Verifier    ->        |    Verify Claim          |
                         |                          |
   Auditor    ->       Collect Receipts     Replay Ledger

   The SCITT architecture consists of a very loose federation of
   Transparency Services, and a set of common formats and protocols for
   issuing, registering and auditing Claims.  In order to accomodate as
   many TS implementations as possible, this document only specifies the
   format of Claims (which must be used by all Issuers) and a very thin
   wrapper format for Receipts, which specifies the TS identity and the
   Ledger algorithm.  Most of the details of the Receipt's contents are
   specific to the Ledger algorithm.  The [I-D.birkholz-scitt-receipts]
   document defines two initial Ledger algorithms (for historical and
   sparse Merkle Trees), but other Ledger formats (such as blockchains,
   or hybrid historical and indexed Merkle Trees) may be proposed later.

   In this section, we describe at a high level the three main roles and
   associated processes in SCITT: Issuers and the Claim issuance
   process, transparency Ledgers and the Claim Registration process, and
   Verifiers and the Receipt validation process.

5.1.  Claim Issuance

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5.1.1.  Issuer Identity

   Before an Issuer is able to produce Claims, it must first create its
   decentralized identifier ( (also known
   as a DID).  A DID can be _resolved_ into a _key manifest_ (a list of
   public keys indexed by a _key identifier_) using many different DID

   Issuers MAY choose the DID method they prefer, but with no guarantee
   that all TS will be able to register their Claim.  To facilitate
   interoperability, all Transparency Service implementations SHOULD
   support the did:web method from [
   method-web/].  For instance, if the Issuer publishes its manifest at
   https://sample.issuer/user/alice/did.json, the DID of the Issuer is

   Issuers SHOULD use consistent decentralized identifiers for all their
   Artifacts, to simplify authorization by Verifiers and auditing.  They
   MAY update their DID manifest, for instance to refresh their signing
   keys or algorithms, but they SHOULD NOT remove or change any prior
   keys unless they intend to revoke all Claims issued with those keys.
   This DID appears in the Issuer header of the Claim's Envelope, while
   the version of the key from the manifest used to sign the Claim is
   written in the kid header.

5.1.2.  Naming Artifacts

   Many Issuers issue Claims about different Artifacts under the same
   DID, so it is important for everyone to be able to immediately
   recognize by looking at the Envelope of a Claim what Artifact it is
   referring to.  This information is stored in the Feed header of the
   Envelope.  Issuers MAY use different signing keys (identified by kid
   in the resolved key manifest) for different Artifacts, or sign all
   Claims under the same key.

5.1.3.  Claim Metadata

   Besides Issuer, Feed and kid, the only other mandatory metadata in
   the Claim is the type of the Payload, indicated in the cty Envelope
   header.  However, this set of mandatory metadata is not sufficient to
   express many important Registration policies.  For example, a Ledger
   may only allow a Claim to be registered if it was signed recently.
   While the Issuer is free to add any information in the payload of the
   Claim, the TS (and most of its auditor) can only be expected to
   interpret information in the Envelope.

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   Such metadata, meant to be interpreted by the TS during Registration
   policy evaluation, should be added to the reg_info header.  While the
   header MUST be present in all Claims, its contents consist of a map
   of named attributes.  Some attributes (such as the Issuer's
   timestamp) are standardized with a defined type, to help uniformize
   their semantics across TS.  Others are completely customizable and
   may have arbitrary types.  In any case, all attributes are optional
   so the map MAY be empty.

5.2.  Transparency Service (TS)

   The role of TS can be decomposed into several major functions.  The
   most important is maintaining a Ledger, the verifiable data structure
   that records Claims, and enforcing a Registration policy.  It also
   maintains a service key, which is used to endorse the state of the
   Ledger in Receipts.  All TS MUST expose standard endpoints for
   Registration of Claims and Receipt issuance, which is described in
   Section 8.1.  Each TS also defines its Registration policy, which
   MUST apply to all entries in the Ledger.

   The combination of Ledger, identity, Registration policy evaluation,
   and Registration endpoint constitute the trusted part of the TS.
   Each of these components SHOULD be carefully protected against both
   external attacks and internal misbehavior by some or all of the
   operators of the TS.  For instance, the code for policy evaluation,
   Ledger extension and endorsement may be protected by running in a
   TEE; the Ledger may be replicated and a consensus algorithm such as
   Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (pBFT [PBFT]) may be used to
   protect against malicious or vulnerable replicas; threshold
   signatures may be use to protect the service key, etc.

   Beyond the trusted components, Transparency Services may operate
   additional endpoints for auditing, for instance to query for the
   history of Claims made by a given Issuer and Feed.  Implementations
   of TS SHOULD avoid using the service identity and extending the
   Ledger in auditing endpoints; as much as practical, the Ledger SHOULD
   contain enough evidence to re-construct verifiable proofs that the
   results returned by the auditing endpoint are consistent with a given
   state of the Ledger.

5.2.1.  Service Identity, Remote Attestation, and Keying

   Every TS MUST have a public service identity, associated with public/
   private key pairs for signing on behalf of the service.  In
   particular, this identity must be known by Verifiers when validating
   a Receipt

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   This identity should be stable for the lifetime of the service, so
   that all Receipts remain valid and consistent.  The TS operator MAY
   use a distributed identifier as their public service identity if they
   wish to rotate their keys, if the Ledger algorithm they use for their
   Receipt supports it.  Other types of cryptographic identities, such
   as parameters for non-interactive zero-knowledge proof systems, may
   also be used in the future.

   The TS SHOULD provide evidence that it is securely implemented and
   operated, enabling remote authentication of the hardware platforms
   and/or software TCB that run the TS.  This additional evidence SHOULD
   be recorded in the Ledger and presented on demand to Verifiers and

   For example, consider a TS implemented using a set of replicas, each
   running within its own hardware-protected trusted execution
   environments (TEEs).  Each replica SHOULD provide a recent
   attestation report for its TEE, binding their hardware platform to
   the software that runs the Transparency Service, the long-term public
   key of the service, and the key used by the replica for signing
   Receipts.  This attestation evidence SHOULD be supplemented with
   transparency Receipts for the software and configuration of the
   service, as measured in its attestation report.

5.2.2.  Registration Policies

      *Editor's note*

      The initial version of this document assumes Registration policies
      are set for the lifetime of the Ledger, and that they apply to all
      Issuers and Feeds uniformly.  There is an ongoing discussion on
      how to make the design more flexible to allow per-Issuer and per-
      Feed Registration policies, and whether such policies should be
      updatable or if a policy change requires a Feed change.  Please
      contribute your comments to the SCITT mailing list.

   Each TS is initially configured with a set of Registration policies,
   which will be applied for the lifetime of the Ledger.  A Registration
   policy represents a predicate that takes as input the current Ledger
   and the Envelope of a new Claim to register (including the reg_info
   header which contains customizable additional attributes), and
   returns a Boolean decision on whether the Claim should be included on
   the Ledger or not.  A TS MUST ensure that all its Registration
   policies return a positive decision before adding a Claim to the

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   While Registration policies are a burden for Issuers (some may
   require them to maintain state to remember what they have signed
   before) they support stronger transparency guarantees, and they
   greatly help Verifiers and auditors in making sense of the
   information on the Ledger.  (This is particularly relevant for
   parties that verify Receipts on their own, without accessing the
   Ledger.)  For instance, if a TS doesn't apply any policy, Claims may
   be registered in a different order than they have been issued, and
   old Claims may be replayed, which makes it difficult to understand
   the logical history of an Artifact, or to prevent rollback attacks.

   There are two kinds of Registration policies: (1) named policies have
   standardized semantics that are uniform across all implementations of
   SCITT Transparency Services, while (2) custom policies are opaque and
   may contain pointers to (or even inlined) policy descriptions
   (declarative or programmable).

   Transparency services MUST advertise the Registration policies
   enforced by their service, including the list of reg_info attributes
   they require, both to minimize the risk of rejecting Claims presented
   by Issuers, and to advertise the properties implied by Receipt
   verification.  Implementations of Receipt Verifiers SHOULD persist
   the list of Registration policies associated with a service identity,
   and return the list of Registration policies as an output of Receipt
   validation.  Auditors MUST re-apply the Registration policy of every
   entry in the Ledger to ensure that the Ledger applied them correctly.

   Custom policies may use additional information present in the Ledger
   outside of Claims.  For instance, Issuers may have to register on the
   TS before Claims can be accepted; a custom policy may be used to
   enforce access control to the Transparency Service.  Verifying the
   signature of the Issuer is also a form of Registration policy, but it
   is globally enforced in order to separate authentication and
   authorization, with policy only considering authentic inputs.

   Table 1 defines an initial set of named policies that TS may decide
   to enforce.  This may be evolved in future drafts.

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     | Policy Name | Required     | Implementation                   |
     |             | attributes   |                                  |
     | TimeLimited | register_by: | Returns true if now () <         |
     |             | uint         | register_by.  The Ledger MUST    |
     |             |              | store the Ledger time at         |
     |             |              | Registration along with the      |
     |             |              | Claim, and SHOULD indicate it in |
     |             |              | Receipts                         |
     | Sequential  | sequence_no: | First, lookup in the Ledger for  |
     |             | uint         | Claims with the same Issuer and  |
     |             |              | Feed.  If at least one is found, |
     |             |              | returns true if and only if the  |
     |             |              | sequence_no of the new Claim is  |
     |             |              | the highest sequence_no in the   |
     |             |              | existing Claims incremented by   |
     |             |              | one.  Otherwise, returns true if |
     |             |              | and only if sequence_no = 0.     |
     | Temporal    | issuance_ts: | Returns true if and only if      |
     |             | uint         | there is no Claim in the Ledger  |
     |             |              | with the same Issuer and Feed    |
     |             |              | with a greater issuance_ts       |
     | NoReplay    | None         | Returns true if and only if the  |
     |             |              | Claim doesn't already appear in  |
     |             |              | the Ledger                       |

                 Table 1: An Initial Set of Named Policies

5.2.3.  Ledger Security Requirements

   There are many different candidate verifiable data structures that
   may be used to implement the Ledger, such as chronological Merkle
   Trees, sparse/indexed Merkle Trees, full blockchains, and many other
   variants.  We only require the Ledger to support concise Receipts
   (i.e. whose size grows at most logarithmically in the number of
   entries in the Ledger).  This does not necessarily rule out
   blockchains as a Ledger, but may necessitate advanced Receipt schemes
   that use arguments of knowledge and other verifiable computing

   Since the details of how to verify a Receipt are specific to the data
   structure, we do not specify any particular Ledger format in this
   document.  Instead, we propose two initial formats for Ledgers in

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   [I-D.birkholz-scitt-receipts] using historical and sparse Merkle
   Trees.  Beyond the format of Receipts, we require generic properties
   that should be satisfied by the components in the TS that have the
   ability to write to the Ledger.  Finality

   The Ledger is append-only: once a Claim is registered, it cannot be
   modified, deleted, or moved.  In particular, once a Receipt is
   returned for a given Claim, the Claim and any preceding entry in the
   Ledger become immutable, and the Receipt provides universally-
   verifiable evidence of this property.  Consistency

   There is no fork in the Ledger: everyone with access to its contents
   sees the same sequence of entries, and can check its consistency with
   any Receipts they have collected.  TS implementations SHOULD provide
   a mechanism to verify that the state of the Ledger encoded in an old
   Receipt is consistent with the current Ledger state.  Replayability and Auditing

   Everyone with access to the Ledger can check the correctness of its
   contents.  In particular,

   *  the TS defines and enforces deterministic Registration policies
      that can be re-evaluated based solely on the contents of the
      Ledger at the time of registraton, and must then yield the same

   *  The ordering of entries, their cryptographic contents, and the
      Ledger governance may be non-deterministic, but they must be

   *  The TS SHOULD store evidence about the resolution of distributed
      identifiers into manifests.

   *  The TS MAY additionally support verifiability of client
      authentication and access control.

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   The TS needs to support governance, with well-defined procedures for
   allocating resources to operate the Ledger (e.g., for provisioning
   trusted hardware and registering their attestation materials in the
   Ledger) and for updating its code (e.g., relying on Transparent
   Claims about code updates, secured on the Ledger itself, or on some
   auxiliary TS).

   Governance procedures, their auditing, and their transparency are
   implementation specific.  The TS SHOULD document them.

   *  Governance may be based on a consortium of members that are
      jointly responsible for the TS, or automated based on the contents
      of an auxiliary governance TS.

   *  Governance typically involves additional records in the Ledger to
      enable its auditing.  Hence, the Ledger may contain both
      Transparent Claims and governance entries.

   *  Issuers, Verifiers, and third-party auditors may review the TS
      governance before trusting the service, or on a regular basis.

5.3.  Verifying Transparent Claims

   For a given Artifact, Verifiers take as trusted inputs:

   1.  the distributed identifier of the Issuer (or its resolved key

   2.  the expected name of the Artifact (i.e. the Feed),

   3.  the list of service identities of trusted TS.

   When presented with a Transparent Claim for the Artifact, they verify
   its Issuer identity, signature, and Receipt.  They may additionally
   apply a validation policy based on the protected headers present both
   in the Envelope or in the countersignature and the Statement itself,
   which may include security-critical Artifact-specific details.

   Some Verifiers may systematically resolve the Issuer DID to fetch
   their latest DID document.  This strictly enforces the revocation of
   compromised keys: once the Issuer has updated its document to remove
   a key identifier, all Claims signed with this kid will be rejected.
   However, others may delegate DID resolution to a trusted third party
   and/or cache its results.

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   Some Verifiers may decide to skip the DID-based signature
   verification, relying on the TS's Registration policy and the
   scrutiny of other Verifiers.  Although this weakens their guarantees
   against key revocation, or against a corrupt TS, they can still keep
   the Receipt and blame the Issuer or the TS at a later point.

6.  Claim Issuance, Registration, and Verification

   This section details the interoperability requirements for
   implementers of Claim issuance and validation libraries, and of
   Transparency Services.

6.1.  Envelope and Claim Format

   The formats of Claims and Receipts are based on CBOR Object Signing
   and Encryption (COSE).  The choice of CBOR is a trade-off between
   safety (in particular, non-malleability: each Claim has a unique
   serialization), ease of processing and availability of

   At a high-level that is the context of this architecture, a Claim is
   a COSE single-signed object (i.e.  COSE_Sign1) that contains the
   correct set of protected headers.  Although Issuers and relays may
   attach unprotected headers to Claims, Transparency Services and
   Verifiers MUST NOT rely on the presence or value of additional
   unprotected headers in Claims during Registration and validation.

   All Claims MUST include the following protected headers:

   *  algorithm (label: 1): Asymmetric signature algorithm used by the
      Claim Issuer, as an integer, for example -35 for ECDSA with SHA-
      384, see COSE Algorithms registry

   *  Issuer (label: TBD, to be registered): DID (Decentralized
      Identifier, see W3C Candidate Recommendation
      ( of the signer, as a string, for

   *  Feed (label: TBD): the Issuer's name for the Artifact, as a

   *  payload type (label: 3): Media type of payload as a string, for
      example application/spdx+json

   *  Registration policy info (label: TBD): a map of additional
      attributes to help enforce Registration policies;

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   *  DID key selection hint (label: TBD): a DID method-specific
      selector for the signing key, as a bytestring.

   Additionally, Claims MAY carry the following unprotected headers:

   *  Receipts (label: TBD, to be registered): Array of Receipts,
      defined in [I-D.birkholz-scitt-receipts]

   In CDDL [RFC8610] notation, the Envelope is defined as follows:

   SCITT_Envelope = COSE_Sign1_Tagged

   COSE_Sign1_Tagged = #6.18(COSE_Sign1)

   COSE_Sign1 = [
     protected : bstr .cbor Protected_Header,
     unprotected : Unprotected_Header,
     payload : bstr,
     signature : bstr

   Reg_Info = {
     ? "register_by": uint,
     ? "sequence_no": uint,
     ? "issuance_ts": uint,
     * tstr => any

   ; All protected headers are mandatory, to protect against faulty implementations of COSE
   ; that may accidentally read a missing protected header from the unprotected headers.
   Protected_Header = {
     1 => int               ; algorithm identifier
     3 => tstr              ; payload type
     258 => tstr            ; DID of Issuer
     259 => tstr            ; Feed
     260 => Reg_Info        ; Registration policy info
     261 => bstr            ; key selector

   Unprotected_Header = {
      ? 257 => SCITT_Receipt / [+ SCITT_Receipt]

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6.2.  Claim Issuance

   There are many types of Statements (such as SBOMs, malware scans,
   audit reports, policy definitions) that Issuers may want to turn into
   Claims.  The Issuer must first decide on a suitable format to
   serialize the Statement, such as: - JSON-SPDX - CBOR-SPDX - SWID -
   CoSWID - CycloneDX - in-toto - SLSA

   Once the Statement is serialized with the correct content type, the
   Issuer should fill in the attributes for the Registration policy
   information header.  From the Issuer's perspective, using attributes
   from named policies ensures that the Claim may only be registered on
   Transparency Services that implement the associated policy.  For
   instance, if a Claim is frequently updated, and it is important for
   Verifiers to always consider the latest version, Issuers SHOULD use
   the sequence_no or issuer_ts attributes.

   Once all the Envelope headers are set, the Issuer MAY use a standard
   COSE implementation to produce the serialized Claim (the SCITT tag of
   COSE_Sign1_Tagged is outside the scope of COSE, and used to indicate
   that a signed object is a Claim).

6.3.  Registering Signed Claims

   The same Claim may be independently registered in multiple TS.  To
   register a Claim, the service performs the following steps:

   1.  Client authentication.  This is implementation-specific, and MAY
       be unrelated to the Issuer identity.  Claims may be registered by
       a different party than their Issuer.

   2.  Issuer identification.  The TS MUST store evidence of the DID
       resolution for the Issuer protected header of the Envelope and
       the resolved key manifest at the time of Registration for
       auditing.  This MAY require that the service resolve the Issuer
       DID and record the resulting document, or rely on a cache of
       recent resolutions.

   3.  Envelope signature verification, as described in COSE signature,
       using the signature algorithm and verification key of the Issuer
       DID document.

   4.  Envelope validation.  The service MUST check that the Envelope
       has a payload and the protected headers listed above.  The
       service MAY additionally verify the payload format and content.

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   5.  Apply Registration policy: for named policies, the TS should
       check that the required Registration info attributes are present
       in the Envelope and apply the check described in Table 1.  A TS
       MUST reject Claims that contain an attribute used for a named
       policy that is not enforced by the service.  Custom Claims are
       evaluated given the current Ledger state and the entire Envelope,
       and MAY use information contained in the attributes of named

   6.  Commit the new Claim to the Ledger

   7.  Sign and return the Receipt.

   The last two steps MAY be shared between a batch of Claims recorded
   in the Ledger.

   The service MUST ensure that the Claim is committed before releasing
   its Receipt, so that it can always back up the Receipt by releasing
   the corresponding entry in the Ledger.  Conversely, the service MAY
   re-issue Receipts for the Ledger content, for instance after a
   transient fault during Claim Registration.

6.4.  Validation of Transparent Claims

   This section provides additional implementation considerations, the
   high-level validation algorithm is described in Section 5.3, with the
   Ledger-specific details of checking Receipts are covered in

   Before checking a Claim, the Verifier must be configured with one or
   more identities of trusted Transparency Services.  If more than one
   service is configured, the Verifier MUST return which service the
   Claim is registered on.

   In some scenarios, the Verifier already expects a specific Issuer and
   Feed for the Claim, while in other cases they are not known in
   advance and can be an output of validation.  Verifiers SHOULD offer a
   configuration to decide if the Issuer's signature should be locally
   verified (which may require a DID resolution, and may fail if the
   manifest is not available or if the key is revoked), or if it should
   trust the validation done by the TS during Registration.

   Some Verifiers MAY decide to locally re-apply some or all of the
   Registration policies if they have limited trust in the TS.  In
   addition, Verifiers MAY apply arbitrary validation policies after the
   signature and Receipt have been checked.  Such policies may use as
   input all information in the Envelope, the Receipt, and the payload,
   as well as any local state.

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   Verifiers SHOULD offer options to store or share Receipts in case
   they are needed to audit the TS in case of a dispute.

7.  Federation

   We explain how multiple, independent Transparency Services can be
   composed to distribute supply chains without a single transparency
   authority trusted by all parties.

   Multiple SCITT instances, governed and operated by different

   For example, - a small, simple SCITT instance may keep track
   specifically of the software used for operating SCITT services. - an
   air-gapped data center may operate its own SCITT Ledger to retain
   full control and auditing of its software supplies.

   How? - Policy-based.  Within an organization, local Verifiers contact
   an authoritative SCITT that records the latest policies associated
   with classes of Artifacts; these policies indicate which Issuers and
   Ledgers are trusted for verifying signed Transparent Claims for these

   *  Other federation mechanisms?

   We'd like to attach multiple Receipts to the same signed Claims, each
   Receipt endorsing the Issuer signature and a subset of prior
   Receipts.  This involves down-stream Ledgers verifying and recording
   these Receipts before issuing their own Receipts.

8.  Transparency Service API

   Editor's Note: this may be moved to appendix.

8.1.  Messages

8.1.1.  Register Signed Claims  Request

   POST <Base URL>/entries

   Body: SCITT COSE_Sign1 message  Response

   One of the following:

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   *  HTTP Status 201 - Registration was tentatively successful pending
      service consensus.

   *  HTTP Status 400 - Registration was unsuccessful.

      -  Error code AwaitingDIDResolutionTryLater

      -  Error code InvalidInput

   [TODO] Use 5xx for AwaitingDIDResolutionTryLater

   The 201 response contains the x-ms-ccf-transaction-id HTTP header
   which can be used to retrieve the Registration Receipt with the given
   transaction ID.  [TODO] this has to be made generic

   [TODO] probably a bad idea to define a new header, or is it ok? can
   we register a new one?

   The 400 response has a Content-Type: application/json header and a
   body containing details about the error:

   json { "error": { "code": "<error code>", "message": "<message>" } }

   AwaitingDIDResolutionTryLater means the service does not have an up-
   to-date DID document of the DID referenced in the Signed Claims but
   is performing or will perform a DID resolution after which the client
   may retry the request.  The response may contain the HTTP header
   Retry-After to inform the client about the expected wait time.

   InvalidInput means either the Signed Claims message is syntactically
   malformed, violates the signing profile (e.g. signing algorithm), or
   has an invalid signature relative to the currently resolved DID

8.1.2.  Retrieve Registration Receipt  Request

   GET <Base URL>/entries/<Transaction ID>/receipt  Response

   One of the following:

   *  HTTP Status 200 - Registration was successful and the Receipt is

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   *  HTTP Status 400 - Transaction exists but does not correspond to a
      Registration Request.

      -  Error code TransactionMismatch

   *  HTTP Status 404 - Transaction is pending, unknown, or invalid.

      -  Error code TransactionPendingOrUnknown

      -  Error code TransactionInvalid

   The 200 response contains the SCITT_Receipt in the body.

   The 400 and 404 responses return the error details as described

   The retrieved Receipt may be embedded in the corresponding COSE_Sign1
   document in the unprotected header, see TBD.

   [TODO] There's also the GET <Base URL>/entries/<Transaction ID>
   endpoint which returns the submitted COSE_Sign1 with the Receipt
   already embedded.  Is this useful?

9.  Privacy Considerations

   Unless advertised by the TS, every Issuer should treat its Claims as
   public.  In particular, their Envelope and Statement should not carry
   any private information in plaintext.

10.  Security Considerations

   On its own, verifying a Transparent Claim does not guarantee that its
   Envelope or contents are trustworthy---just that they have been
   signed by the apparent Issuer and counter-signed by the TS.  If the
   Verifier trusts the Issuer, it can infer that the Claim was issued
   with this Envelope and contents, which may be interpreted as the
   Issuer saying the Artifact is fit for its intended purpose.  If the
   Verifier trusts the TS, it can independently infer that the Claim
   passed the TS Registration policy and that has been persisted in the
   Ledger.  Unless advertised in the TS Registration policy, the
   Verifier should not assume that the ordering of Transparent Claims in
   the Ledger matches the ordering of their issuance.

   Similarly, the fact that an Issuer can be held accountable for its
   Transparent Claims does not on its own provide any mitigation or
   remediation mechanism in case one of these Claims turned out to be
   misleading or malicious---just that signed evidence will be available
   to support them.

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   Issuers SHOULD ensure that the Statements in their Claims are correct
   and unambiguous, for example by avoiding ill-defined or ambiguous
   formats that may cause Verifiers to interpret the Claim as valid for
   some other purpose.

   Issuers and Transparency Services SHOULD carefully protect their
   private signing keys and avoid these keys for any purpose not
   described in this architecture.  In case key re-use is unavoidable,
   they MUST NOT sign any other message that may be verified as an

11.  IANA Considerations

   See Body Section 4.

12.  References

12.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

   [RFC6838]  Freed, N., Klensin, J., and T. Hansen, "Media Type
              Specifications and Registration Procedures", BCP 13,
              RFC 6838, DOI 10.17487/RFC6838, January 2013,

   [RFC8152]  Schaad, J., "CBOR Object Signing and Encryption (COSE)",
              RFC 8152, DOI 10.17487/RFC8152, July 2017,

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <>.

   [RFC8610]  Birkholz, H., Vigano, C., and C. Bormann, "Concise Data
              Definition Language (CDDL): A Notational Convention to
              Express Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) and
              JSON Data Structures", RFC 8610, DOI 10.17487/RFC8610,
              June 2019, <>.

   [RFC9162]  Laurie, B., Messeri, E., and R. Stradling, "Certificate
              Transparency Version 2.0", RFC 9162, DOI 10.17487/RFC9162,
              December 2021, <>.

12.2.  Informative References

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              Birkholz, H., Riechert, M., Delignat-Lavaud, A., and C.
              Fournet, "Countersigning COSE Envelopes in Transparency
              Services", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-
              birkholz-scitt-receipts-00, 7 March 2022,

   [PBFT]     Castro, M. and B. Liskov, "Practical byzantine fault
              tolerance and proactive recovery", ACM Transactions on
              Computer Systems, Volume 20, Issue 4 , November 2002,

Appendix A.  Attic

   Not ready to throw these texts into the trash bin yet.

Authors' Addresses

   Henk Birkholz
   Fraunhofer SIT
   Rheinstrasse 75
   64295 Darmstadt

   Antoine Delignat-Lavaud
   Microsoft Research
   21 Station Road
   CB1 2FB
   United Kingdom

   Cedric Fournet
   Microsoft Research
   21 Station Road
   CB1 2FB
   United Kingdom

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