I was talking yesterday to Dennis Szerszen, vp of marketing at Securewave, a company that keeps Microsoft shops ticking over calmly by enabling whitelist policies of acceptable executables (the zen of behaviour blocking).
Anyway, we were discussing the notion that identity is only important in context. We both agreed the notion of a single canonical digital identity for everything is absurd.
To my mind this is why the approach of the mooted British National ID Card System looks like an expensive and potentially dangerous failure (in terms of budget, civil liberties and fraud opportunities); its a Big Bang, the kind of program the UK Government and associated public sector service provider cartel have a terrible track record for delivering. Most problematical however is the attempt to create a digital ID useful in seemingly every conceivable public meets private sector digital context. It will prevent welfare benefit fraud, catch terrorists, be used by commercial organizations (Insurance companies, potentially), and probably solve world poverty too.
Unfortunately in real life the massive central ID database will probably suffer from information bulimia, a disorder common amongst information intermediaries, characterized by episodic binge data collection followed by uncontrollable vomiting and purging, leading to information leakage and theft.
But anyway back to Dennis and the conversatron. We were discussing USB memory sticks and other portable mass storage devices, a huge information breach challenge for all kinds of company. You don’t necessarily want to block all USB access, it depends on the context. That is where his firm is focusing attention.
I wanted to provide more context for our discussion and suggested Dennis read some blogs on “the new identity thinking”. I don’t mean oldline discussions concerning SSO and PKI, but rather people working on new (often lightweight) approaches and thinking to identity problems. These are the thinkers that will enable new business models, and hopefully some more coherent national policies on identity and privacy going forward. We should all engage with this kind of thinking because ID is important and it is tightly associated with our civil liberties.
Anyway – I reckon that if you subscribe to and read the blogs below for just a few days your ID IQ will be significantly increased. i tried to limit it to ten or so, and gave myself some breathing room for feedback. Should I have included Sun’s very own Superpat, for example? Who is driving the new thinking at IBM- is there a Sam Ruby of ID out there? I basically erred on the side of Web 2.0 folks. Change agents, that is.
So here you go – Now go get smartened up.
Kim Cameron, Microsoft
Perhaps the most influential figure in Identity 2.0. Why? Because Kim is driving Microsoft’s Identity Management strategy, and he wants to put the user, rather than the corporation, at the center of the world. The real deal is our Kim. Put forward seven laws of identity to help drive the debate forward.
Jamie Lewis, Burton Group
Whatever you think of industry analyts it is hard to argue Burton Group have been instrumental in driving the state of the art forward on directory and identity.
Eric is quite simply an identity news maker. Is that the same as a noise-maker? No-he gets things done.
Kaliya Hamlin, Identity Woman
Kaliya has all necessary technical gubbins, the respect of her peers, and umm. she’s a she. Its important more women are part of the identity conversation because they likely see things differently than male alpha geeks. As we’re seeing over at the Blogher conference, questions of identity and credibility are closely associated (the link debate). What is the A-list? Its surely an identity management system… And if women do share more personal information online, as Blogaholics notes, what does that say for identity and metadata management in a digital age, and potential abuse of same?
Phil Windley, Technometria
Smart dude from Brigham Young, part of the new identity community cluster.
Scott C. Lemon, Digital Identity Management
Digital Identity-its what Scott does. This blog is a great place to start thinking about the issues.
On The Identity Trail, Province of Ontario ID mavens
Ontario is an e-government hub. Canada hopefully shows us that privacy should be considered when governments drive ID initiatives.
Dick Hardt, Identity 2.0
I couldn’t exactly use Identity 2.0 in my title without pointing to the guy credited with coming up with the term. I subsequently changed the blog title, but he is certainly an influencer of merit.
So there you go Dennis – some advanced thinking on identity in context.
A final word from monkchips: digital living will increase the number of identities we use as it increases the number of contexts and communities in which we interact.