Fast Takes

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Name:John McDowall
Location:Redwood City, California, United States

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Keeping my Identity

DIDW was very thought provoking and I keep coming up with new issues. The latest being who do I trust to keep my identity? This has both legal and social implications. I see my identity as a cloud of facts that surrounds me and changes in both time and space. The major reason I do not manage my identity is that I do not want to be responsible for it. This is both a data management issue and a legal responsibility issue.

Many people worry about third parties such as banks and the government managing parts of their identity. I would worry more if I had to manage my identity, keep it secure and be legally responsible for it. There is a lot to be said for having multiple third parties being your trusted identity providers.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Personal Identity - who am I....

I spent some time last week at Digital ID World. I was there to be part of a panel on Web Services and Identity that focused on enterprise issues. The other part of the conference was looking at the issues of personal identity and how it related to the digital world. The danger of the identity problem is over-simplification.

The nature of personal identity is really around a collection of facts about me, with axes in time and space. At different times I have different identities, a friend, an employee, a customer, a relation etc. In different places, native, business traveler, tourist, etc. Which facts about me are both necessary and provable to determine my identity to solve the problem at hand.

I am not sure the problem can be solved by either a single device or a static set of assertions. I need to be able to reach into the network and present a set of provable assertions to define my identity and other parties need to be able to ask for a collection of assertions. Once provided the provable assertions they identity consumer needs to be able to state what they are going to do with the information, i.e. how persistent it is and will it be attached to my identity cloud.

The idea of an identity cloud that has clusters of provable facts in time and space is the mental model I am creating around identity as anything else is too simplistic.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Is persistence becoming a commodity..

Several announcements such as this one Big Blue retools database pricing | CNET are pointing in the direction of databases becoming a commodity. The next step is just making persistence a part of the information flow. One of the major advantages of XML and XML Schema is that they are all readable and can be persisted in a single step from the information flow.

This is a disadvantage for the database vendors as they have profited from the complexity of storage. Now if it becomes a commodity in the cloud, a part of the fabric of the network, then what is the actual value of persistence?