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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Universal Identity Metasystem Proposed

Kim Cameron, Microsoft's Architect of Identity, just had an interview about his proposed Laws of Identity. (Here's the full rundown.) They're is related to his theories on a "universal identity metasystem" which he says will help streamline interactions and stop the theft of identifying information. Though he obviously has a vested interest in the project, he wants everyone to work together to create and use this system, stating that "nothing that is proprietary is of any use in this world [regarding identity]."

The basics of the concept are like this: You have several identities depending on what company or group you're interacting with, and each has a personal profile with only a fraction of your information. You might be anonymous when you're surfing the Web, tell a hobby message board's group a few of your related interests, give eBay your bank account number, and so forth. Each company uses the unique system they've created using a universal protocol and is only allowed to grab the information you want to give them. It could work for other technologies, too, like having your Bluetooth tell your phone what hold music to play based on your playlist.

An endeavor of this type is bound to have its potential problems, as Cameron admits, because "the identity system itself will be the most attacked component of distributed computing.(*)" Basically he plans to minimize risk by only having information provided with the customer's knowledge and provide as little information as necessary to each company.

It should be interesting to see how all of this pans out.


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