You Can’t Sue Unicorns

A lot of people have asked me why you can’t sue Unicorns. Here is the back story. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.


One cold wintry day, two federati are talking about people making unreasonable demands as to what should be included in a policy statement:

Federati1: I want federation operators to supply me with a white horse, pony or donkey so that I can dress it up for my “federations powered by Unicorns” campaign (but I don’t think it will happen).

But it is as useful as all the other suggestions.

Federati2: Now unicorns i’m all for investing in.

Federati1: The Purple Federation would probably find the budget for a pony.

Federati2: we can glue on a horn.

Federati1: That was my plan. It’s only marketing after all. Although they’ve probably got the budget for a real Unicorn.

Federati2: I’m in. As long as I can dress up in a conical hat.

Federati1: Clearly only princes and princesses can ride unicorns. It’s not like you’d let the policy say more than that!

Federati2: no [rude word] way.

Policywonk1: [interrupts] It only says that Princes and Princesses SHOULD ride unicorns. I should be allowed to as well.

Policywonk2.: You have to sign the insurance waiver form in English. It says that it SHOULD be in English – but I think it should be changed to MUST be in English.

Federati1: “Unicorns can’t read – they just want to frolick through the air. It doesn’t matter what language the insurance waiver is in. YOU CAN’T SUE UNICORNS.

Policywonk3: “Because Welsh law still recognises the original KJV of the Bible – unicorns can be sued in Wales

Federati2: So no one objects if I ride my unicorn-pony dressed as a princess as long as I don’t do it Wales? ???

LESSON1: Don’t ride Unicorns in Wales.

LESSON2: Never engage in a battle of wits with someone who writes policy….or Sicilians.

3 thoughts on “You Can’t Sue Unicorns

  1. IngridM

    In my experience there are more relevant parts of Job’s book when working on federation policy. Not the least being or

    Leaving guidelines and values aside, the practical advise would be to include a part of the policy stating “Any unicorns delivered by the Service Provider may be freely ridden by end user, but must be returned when the login session expires (or upon explicit logout, if logout is available). Unicorns available for the user from the Identity Provider are subject to local ICT policy at your educational institution, restrictions may apply. Unicorns must not have access to PII on royal blood lines or virginity.” The liability and risk assessment of that phrasing should fly.

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