Sunday, March 30, 2003

Identity - Spheres of Influence

Jamie Lewis writes in Ends and Means: Identity in Two Worlds about the mis-understandings in the identity space. Trust, Identity and Policy are something I have given some thought to Creating trusted value chains. One reason for the confusion is that there are spheres of influence for identity. These spheres are in many ways different, I would characterize them as inside, outside and among. Inside is within a corporation and the notion of identity is controlled by the corporate directory(s). Outside are your customers coming into the enterprise and they have the individual identities that are not within the enterprise and also their identity is typically not attached to their enterprise. Among is when two organizations have a relationship the relationship may be managed by users with an identity within their organization but the basis of the relationship is among the two organizations.

The fundamental differentiation is the legal relationships, inside it is the employment contract we all have with our employer, outside is among us and the organization providing the service, and among it is the organizations involved.

Each of these spheres of legal control requires a different approach both technologically and socially. Unless we recognize them as different problems we will just have the circular conversations and talk at one another, rather than at the problem.

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