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Attribute Release Policy


When a user logs in to a service provider, SURFconext sends a SAML assertion to this service provider. The assertion contains:

  • statements about the user who is logging in (user identifiers)
  • additional attributes

User identifiers

The user's identity is transmitted in the form of the NameID element. Every IP must supply a NameID, but for privacy reasons SURFconext will generate a new one, which is duplicated in the attribute eduPersonTargetedID.

To identify a user you must use NameID or eduPersonTargetedID. NameID is guaranteed to be stable for a fixed user (except in the case of transient identifiers). SURFconext will generate a NameID for each new user. It is unique for the user and specific to the SP, so SP's cannot correlate their received NameID's between each other. There are two types of NameIDs:

  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent
    A persistent NameID contains a unique string identifying the user for this SP and persisting over multiple sessions.
  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:transient
    A transient NameID contains a unique string identifying the user for this SP during the session. If the user logs in again, a new transient identifier will be generated.

Attribute schemas

SURFconext supports two attribute schemas:

  • urn:oid schema (SAML2.0 compliant) 
  • urn schema (SAML1.1 compliant) 

Both can be used to convey the same information (except for the NameID, which is only available in the urn:oid schema). By default SURFconext will provide attributes in both schemas as part of the assertion. However it is not recommended to mix the use of the schemas.

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