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Secure XML: The New Syntax for Signatures and Encryption by Kitty Niles, Donald E. Eastlake

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9.2. Canonical XML and XML Encryption

Modern encryption algorithms work with sequences of eight-bit bytes (octets). As a consequence, any XML document or portion of a document being encrypted must be converted to such a format by, for example, “printing” or serializing it.

The normal reason for encrypting XML (or any other data) is so that some authorized application can later decrypt it and use the information. If the XML will always be decrypted back into the same environment, then it will normally provide the same information and be faithfully decrypted. Maintaining the same environment means maintaining the same character encoding, namespace prefix bindings, scoped value for xml:lang, xml:base if relevant, and perhaps additional application ...

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