Turnstile: A Hierarchical Authorization System

Originally aired:

About the Session

At our firm, we needed an authorization system to support applications with varying levels of intricacy. We have applications that A) have many complicated permissions and policies, and B) require speed and no downtime, strong auditing capabilities and transparency into authorization decisions. We developed Turnstile in-house to address those complexities.


  • has much of the expressiveness of ABAC/ReBAC
  • puts hierarchy front and center (does not represent policies as code)
  • allows for easy hierarchy and exploration like a DAG but with  expressive power and interpretability of ABAC

In this session, we’ll highlight the need for a centralized authorization system to support applications with varying levels of complexity. We’ll discuss the original idea for Turnstile, its design, and its implementation through an in-memory graph database.

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