Friday Apr 03, 2009

howto get a foaf+ssl certificate to your iPhone

In my previous post I showed that a passwordless distributed social web is already possible on the iPhone. It just requires one to upload a foaf+ssl certificate to it. Here is a relatively easy way to do this. I leave it up to the readers of this blog to build even better ways to do it.

First of course you need to have a foaf+ssl certificate. If you don't have a foaf file, then you may want to first check out foafbuilder to create a foaf file and help you tie your distributed persona on the web together. It would be great if foafbuilder could also create those foaf+ssl certs.... For the moment they don't so the easiest way to get it is using the foafssl.org certificate creation service. That will load the certicicate right in your browser, and help you test it.

Once you have a certificate in your browser - I am assuming Firefox here - you just need to export it to the hard drive. In FF go to Preferences, and click on the advanced tab, and choose the encryption section.

Firefox encryption tag

I have a number of foaf+ssl certificates as you can see here. Choose one of them and click the Backup button. This will open another window asking you where you wish to save your certificate. Save it somewhere obvious in pkcs12 format. Make sure the file ends with a .p12 extension. You will also be asked for a password to encrypt your certificate, so it can't be opened in transit. You can use a complex password here as you will only need to remember it once.

my certificates.

Then just mail yourself that .p12 file using an account you can access on the iPhone of course. It is just a matter then of going to your iPhone, and opening your mail. In my mail I added a link to the web service I wanted to use next, to save me typing later.

mail in iphone

When you click on the p12 link in your iphone, it will then ask you if you wish to install it. The certificate will most likely not be verified by another party. But that's ok, because you are the person who verified it. It is a certificate about you, and you know yourself better than most other people (except your mama of course).

iphone install profile window

You are then asked to enter the password you used to encrypt the certificate earlier. Once this is done your certificate will be installed on your iPhone, where it can stay happily for a very long time.

enter certificate password

If you wish to have a number of different personalities on the web you can create different foaf profiles of yourself, where you can link different pieces of your web life together. As all detective films show it is very difficult to keep things forever secret. But you can at least keep pieces of your life clearly seperated, to keep nosy people busy.

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