Topics not usually heard at a tech conference – Courage and Global Warming

This morning at WITI Cindy Solomon gave a keynote on courage – what it is and how to bring it into your work and life. It was quite introspective not a typical talk at any of the tech conferences I go to.

At lunch we had a talk about climate change – we got the science talk from a ‘government scientist’ this was really boring since Al Gore did the best PPT ever on the topic and made it a movie. I didn’t need to have a science lecture. It was very refreshing though to have this topic raised. I have never heard it spoken about at a tech conference (except for Planetwork). If other tech conferences could learn something from WITI is that topics related to inner work – like self-reflection, personal development and leadership and that topics related to the outer world like Climate Change have a place in the mix of topics.

You know I think combining these two would be a great theme for the tech industry to consider – “Courage to face Global Warming” Anyways.

At lunch I had a good conversation with Sumi Panchal from San Jose. She shared with me some of the ‘origin stories’ of WITI. This information helped me understand way more about what this whole scene was about. It reminds me of the importance of story telling for organizational culture formation and the transference.

WITI was founded in 1989 and in part to support women who were working in regular professions, medical, dentel, legal etc. who had no training really in computers but now found them coming into their work place. WITI was a place to go and learn about them.

Web 2.0 – at WITI they forgot that means WIFI in the conference rooms.

Robin Raskin ‘the internet mom’ has a site called Raising Digital Kids and blogs for Yahoo! Tech. She lead the ‘What is web 2.0?’ panel. She did a great job of helping orient the mostly ‘I work in large corporate IT’ folks. The woman who worked for Microsoft highlighted that it was a way of thinking in response to the people who wanted to ‘get the tools.’

Apparently it is a way of thinking the folks at WITI (Women in Technology International) have not picked up on yet. There is no wifi here except for ‘in the lobby’ that you have to pay $10 for and it has no outgoing SMTP [Why do you pay $10 and still not have working outgoing email tell me that tmoblie].

I knew the sessions here would be marginally interesting to me but that I would have a fine day listening while I kept up with e-mail, blogged and did my every day stuff. I also sort of naively thought their might be opportunities to interact with and connect to the women here but it seems to be all talking heads panels (it makes me long for an unconference). I will get my fix of those in the next two weeks as I facilitate both Startup Camp and Ruby on Rails Camp. Johannes and I are going to lead a session at Startup Camp on Identity on Friday morning in the second session.

During the session:
NO one has a computer open….
and No one cares there is no internet
These were the statistics for usage of the following tools in a room of 100.

  • Digg(5),
  • Flickr (3),
  • Wikipedia (3) 1/2 use it to look stuff up
  • Del.icio.us (6)

Anyways. This group has a ways to go to get hip with the latest in technology. I just spoke with Robin Raskin and she said the audience is 1/2 corporate types and 1/2 independent both of which need to know about the lastest stuff because it is changing everything rapidly.

Play Clueful or Blame Bingo

Users matter. They matter a lot when it comes to user-centric identity. I think we as a community have a lot to work on in the UX (user-experience) department to figure out how to make all these protocols actually work for people (clearly the underlying architecture is there to do some cool stuff – what the ‘stuff’ is and how it actually works is the territory we are getting into.)

Cathy Sierra has this post “oops…we forgot about the users.” up on actually listening to users. We can play

Concerning acts of legislation

I just read a link to this on Slashdot. I am quite concerned about what it says.

In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President’s ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007″ (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder.”

President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is “martial law.”

Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled, “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies.” Section 333, “Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law” states that “the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of (“refuse” or “fail” in) maintaining public order, “in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.”

For the current President, “enforcement of the laws to restore public order” means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, over the objections of local governmental, military and local police entities; ship them off to another state; conscript them in a law enforcement mode; and set them loose against “disorderly” citizenry – protesters, possibly, or those who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a bio-terror event.

The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called “illegal aliens,” “potential terrorists” and other “undesirables” for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. That’s right. Under the cover of a trumped-up “immigration emergency” and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration.

What is a Barrier to Entry – OpenID

This comment was posted by Vivek Puri at the bottom of Ramana’s post (quoted above).

OpenID is great idea, but adds another layer of complexity for early adopters. This might not go down well with the startups who can end up loosing important initial users. Also bigger companies like Google will offer Single Sign-on only for their own apps which becomes another point of disconnect. In my case I use Writely for document editing, Editgrid for spreadsheet, and del.icio.us for bookmarks which is a pain to manage.

As for offline usage, that is a very much required feature. Especially Writely should be able to implement that part easily since they have already cracked the algorithm for multi-user data edit and sync. Groove networks does offer that feature but is not for individual.

I guess there is some miscommunication in what OpenID is and how it actually lowers the barrier to entry to try new Office 2.0 applications.

This is how I see it.
I have my blog URL that is openID enabled or I have an i-name. I now can go to any one of the new groovy Office 2.0 applications and instead of getting yet another login and password. I just use my OpenID. I don’t have to put it into that spreadsheet of all my names and passwords or just use the same one I use everywhere that is totally insecure. Instead I bring my identity to the site. I save time. If I am an early adopter type I will likely get an OpenID relatively quickly and it will be a handy fast way for me to try these things out. Of course Office 2.0 applications should not force people to have OpenID’s those who want yet another user name and password can have one.

I know personally I avoide signing up for anything new that requires yet another login. I would be more inclined to tryout an Office 2.0 application that has OpenID as a login option.

I think all these office 2.0 copmanies can collectively compete with the big silo’s by offering SSO amongst themselves.

Office 2.0 – There is a real market!

Ramana Rao was on the closing panel at Office 2.0 and put forward this question:

I asked a few vendors if they would support OpenID for login if say 25 other Office 2.0 vendors would, and I generally got a pause, and then what appeared to be qualified nodding. Well, frankly if this simple matter can’t be resolved among the open world slice-o-function vendors, or the suite newcomers, then it’s hard to imagine the harder problems of fragility being addressed either.

More Slashdot Stories of interest.

So it seems slashdot is full of interesting identity related stories this week.

We have the ‘spying into laptops when you cross the boarder’ story from the NYTimes. (any container is searchable this means your hard disk on your lap top [I suppose avoiding this search is one of the advantages to storing information in the cloud]) It also speaks to the need for technology folks to get more involved in shaping the law.

You can blog in China with a pseudonym but only if you register using your ‘real name’

How we organize ourselves to do work together – are worker owned co-ops an alternative to the corporate form for successful open source development.

Ponderings on the Metaverse as the next big thing. It is an area that I think we in the identity community need to become more literate in because some of the legal, social and economic issues they are tackling are the same ones we are.

Election Mashups on google Earth.

Regaining one’s voice after loosing it the story of Scott Adams, Dilbert’s Writer.

Identity stories from Slashdot

Yesturday was a rich day for identity related stories.
Feds Start Small on Smart IDs talks about the start of the roll out of

The use of personal identity verification, or PIV, cards for verifying the identities of all federal workers and contractors was mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12. The unfunded HSPD-12 mandate specified that agencies must adopt a common identification credential for access to government facilities and computer systems.

Friday’s deadline and an earlier one calling on agencies to develop procedures for verifying the identities and backgrounds of all workers by last October were both considered exceptionally aggressive because of funding issues and the technology and process changes required.


Does anyone know what the procedure they actually developed is?

The register reported that to buy a beer in the UK you will have to give your finger print. The rational is to reduce ‘drinking related crime’. It sounds freakishly Orwellian.

Beer fingerprints to go UK-wide:

The government is funding the roll out of fingerprint security at the doors of pubs and clubs in major English cities.

Funding is being offered to councils that want to have their pubs keep a regional black list of known trouble makers.

The council had assumed it was its duty under the Crime and Disorder Act (1998) to reduce drunken disorder by fingerprinting drinkers in the town centre.

Some licensees were not happy to have their punters fingerprinted, but are all now apparently behind the idea. Not only does the council let them open later if they join the scheme, but the system costs them only £1.50 a day to run.

Oh, and they are also coerced into taking the fingerprint system. New licences stipulate that a landlord who doesn’t install fingerprint security and fails to show a “considerable” reduction in alcohol-related violence, will be put on report by the police and have their licences revoked.

Offenders can be banned from one pub or all of them for a specified time – usually a period of months – by a committee of landlords and police called Pub Watch. Their offences are recorded against their names in the fingerprint system. Bradburn noted the system had a “psychological effect” on offenders.

The Home Office distanced itself from the plans. It said it provided funding to Safer, Stronger Communities through the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Local Area Agreements. How they spent the money was a local decision, said a HO spokeswoman.

OpenID on the ‘edge of greatness”

Here are some of the great quotes about OpenID this week –

Tom in Austin says:
I’m a big fan of OpenID and I think it’s on the edge of greatness.

Norman Walsh:
Next time you build a web application that needs a login, consider OpenID.

btbytes:
Perhaps in future, sign-up fatigue will keep people away from signing up to new services. Providing OpenID option is very welcome.

Amblin:
You can now sign in with an OpenID when you leave comments on the blog. Why did I added this? To do my little part to try and break some of the ID silos.

Come to the IIW in December – all you tech crunchers

Technorati announced support for OpenID blog claiming. And it got tech crunched!!!!

For all you tech crunchers coming to visit me. I want to invite you to the Internet Identity Workshop December 4-6 in Mountainview . It is going to be super fantastic and you can get to participate in the OpenID and other aspects of the user-centric identity discussion because it is an Open Space Conference.

THE FOCUS
User-centric identity starts with the individual, and his or her needs. It does not start with enterprise or technology vendors, although plenty of those have been involved in user-centric conversations and development projects form the beginning. It is about working relationships and services between individuals and retailers, employers, membership bodies, and organizations of any kind. It is not about a centralized solution, or anybody’s silo. As such it solves different problems than the familiar ones of providing authentication and authorization services within a single organization, or federation between different organizations.

WHAT THE CONFERENCE IS LIKE
Internet Identity Workshops are informal and purpose-driven. In every IIW so far, a high degree of progress has been made, within and between separate development efforts. IIWs also serve as the main forums for face-to-face meeting of the whole user-centric identity community.

The user-centric identity conversation is an extremely active and growing involving many converging development efforts — by open source communities, by vendors large and small, and by customers of all sizes. Internet Identity Workshops are where

Mozilla, Microsoft, IBM, Novell, Liberty Alliance, WS*, Verisign, Red Hat, SixApart and many other projects and companies meet to work toward common goals and real solutions. They are joined by customers of all sizes as well. You won’t find a higher ratio anywhere of real productivity to idle chat and marketing BS that are typical to many conferences.

The workshops are organized by a working group within Identity Commons, and are run on Open Space practices and principles*. There are no formal presentations, no keynotes, no panels. Instead, topics are vetted and chosen by participants when the workshop convenes, and open meetings are organized and scheduled for the day that follows. Given the paths of various development projects, however, we expect the following to come up at the workshop:

* Technical protocols, frameworks and proposals such as: OpenID (Sxip, LID, i-names, XRI, Yadis), SAML, Identity metasystem, CardSpace, i-cards, Open Source Identity Selector (OSIS), XDI, itags, Identity Schemas and the Higgins Project.

* The nitty gritty of how to do implementation for startups, large existing customer bases, political campaigns and nonprofit adopters.

* The user experiences of identity systems – what do we know? what do we need to learn more about?

* Legal and social issues like identity rights agreements, reputation, privacy, anonymity, etc.

* Exploring emerging use cases for an identity layer in markets such as user generated video, innovative economic networks, attention and intention brokering, lead generation, user-driven preferences, and social networking.

Social network suicide a possible response to these Yahoo! plans.

Thomas Hawk writes “One of the most interesting things to come out of Yahoo’s earnings call with analysts yesterday was a statement by Yahoo’s COO, Daniel L. Rosenweig on Yahoo’s plans to ‘monetize’ their various social network properties. Flickr was mentioned five times on the conference call and their de.lic.io.us property was as well, after neither were mentioned in last quarter’s call. Rosenweig characterized these services as being largely unmonetized and talked about leveraging these “assets” and targeting and profiling a large growing registered audience base. It will be interesting to see how some of Yahoo’s popular web properties change through the monetization process.”

GREAT! to me this means we are going to mess up your services and fill them with advertisements. I like them because they don’t have ads. I don’t want to be ‘monetized’ as an ‘asset.’ I want to share and connect with my friends. I want to live in community and share with others. I don’t use any other Yahoo properties (because they are full of annoying adds) and really only use flickr and del.icio.us ones because I used them when they were independent. I pay for my flickr account. I will commit social network suicide if they mess them up. I bet you a lot of other people will to. We are getting to an age where we can build the open social network tool set based on open principles, open tagging. Then someone else can build tools to search across them and aggregate them. We don’t need their silo’s for our online lives.

Google knows where you are….

Google is extending and integrating DodgeBall with its other services. Chris Mesina writes about it. Why should people be forced into integrating their accounts because one of the big silo’s buys them. People really don’t want to do that. Perhaps their DodgeBall persona is really different then their one for sharing spreadsheets with work colleagues. I think consumers are going to demand more choice in how they manage their online selves (personas) and that the companies that respond well will be rewarded in the market.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but now when you try to log into your favorite neighborhood spyware, you’ll be greeted by a prompt to login with either your old skool Dodgeball account credentials or your Gauth account (the one that you use for Docs, Gmail, Gcal, Orkut, or other Google Services like YouTube (whoops — did I just say YouTube?).

Should you choose to login with your Dodgeball account, you’ll then be asked what your Gauth account is… again… or to create a new one. I chose to eff it and just merge my accounts (hoping that there’s an export of my checkins to Google Earth). Now I can manage Dodgeball from Google (note the last service):

David Geilhufe’s Drupal response

I wrote in my post about DreamForce conference about SalesForce.com that I met.

Khadijah from MassCOSH (the Massachusets Coalition for Ocupational Saftey and Health). She had a great story of frustration that speaks to the reality…she went with Drupal and and was optimistic about the potential of the platform but was totally disappointed by the tool and the ability to MAKE IT WORK well for her organizational context. As she said we are hoping this group of 19 year old developers will improve the platform…Well the fact is they haven’t really done it and disappointed a lot of folks. (I had high hopes too invested some money in customizing it for my constituents..but it never really got there). She was like SalesForce saved my ass. It is so good and I can get my 8 staff who need to use it to use it. She believes in open source still but needs it to work now…SalesForce solves that problem.

I like David Geilhufe and all that I have heard good things about CiviCRM a project he founded. I have heard developers I trust say “it is one of the best run open source projects I have ever seen.” He moved over from that project to CivicSpace and I have some hope that the fire an be stoked so the dream can be a reality.

The dream of “19 year old developers” meeting the needs of 1M+ nonprofits and a far greater number of civic and political groups is over. Now there are real companies, seasoned leaders, senior developers and private capital backing the dream.

CivicSpace reorganized in May That is why we now have CivicSpace On Demand in BETA. No downloads, no need to understand MySQL and Apache, just a focus on making complex open source work for regular people.

And that is why you will see us slowly stoke the fire that is the dream over the next years… highly affordable, nonprofit-centric open source solutions delivered by a sustainable ecology. The perfect solution isn’t here today. But with a community of supporters, a pretty great open source solution will be here tomorrow.

David Geilhufe
Managing Partner, CivicSpace

Office 2.0 begins

I was at the Office 2.0 pre-conference reception this evening…another very .com experience… EVERYONE was given an 2G ipod nano. It was sort of unbelievable (I thought initially I just got one because I am a speaker). I already have one (I bought it the first week they were out a year ago). I was thinking since I lost my camera at DIDW and I am really missing it (A Cannon Elph SD600) that I would trade the nano with someone who had a digital camera (perhaps if they are upgrading to something else). Just e-mail me if you are up for it.

From an OpenID/iname perspective people really liked to hear that there was an SSO solution. Ramana Rao who is on one of the closing panels said they were musing about the what where the things that if they didn’t happen would mean that this office 2.0 stuff would not succeed…Single-Sign-On was one of the things they had already thought of.

I met Robert Mao from UUZone a Social Network site in China with 6 million users. He is going to be giving them all OpenID’s and has convinced the ‘flickr of china’ to also adopt OpenID. They will both accept and issue OpenID’s. He also tole me about about OpenID.cn (they have a fun logo). I encouraged him to let people know about the Internet Identity Workshop in December – so who knows maybe we will have some more people from Asia there.

It was fun to see Mark Finnern along with his wife Marie and their baby Nina..yes a baby at a cocktail party it was really nice to see.

Meta-Conference report

Yesturday I went to DreamForce the Salesforce.com conference..the thing is that it is a meta-conference… a sales conference about sales.

The Nonprofit Track: It was great to see my nonprofit tech buddies, Steve who runs the Sales Force Foundation, Katrin who is the leader of the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network, Leda from Dot Organize, a new friend Khadijah from MassCOSH (the Massachusets Coalition for Ocupational Saftey and Health). She had a great story of frustration that speaks to the reality…she went with Drupal and and was optimistic about the potential of the platform but was totally disappointed by the tool and the ability to MAKE IT WORK well for her organizational context. As she said we are hoping this group of 19 year old developers will improve the platform…Well the fact is they haven’t really done it and disappointed a lot of folks. (I had high hopes too invested some money in customizing it for my constituents..but it never really got there). She was like SalesForce saved my ass. It is so good and I can get my 8 staff who need to use it to use it. She believes in open source still but needs it to work now…SalesForce solves that problem.

I got up and asked during the first session the first question…basically why should we trust SalesForce.com – why trust a big company with all my sensitive organizational data and what if they get acquired and change the relationship between the foundation and the company – making it not ‘free’ (for the first 10 seats). The response like – we are good people, the foundation is now part of the culture of the company, if they changed it …you would all get upset and cause a pr stir, trust is built over time and we have been doing this for 7 years.

The thing that really got me to shift was my conversation (later in the day) with David Donica the Information Technology Specialist for the Jefferson Economic Development Institute. I don’t know if you have heard of the stat of Jefferson but I am a big fan. It goes from ‘real’ Northern California into Southern Oregon. It is part of Cascadia that I broadly identify with. Jeffersonians are of course strongly independent so the fact that he trusts Salesforce with their data meant something.

In terms of identity related topics in this track one of the women asked .. ‘ how can my donors manage their bio’s or contact information on their own and just have it update’ This question resonated with a lot of folks. I offered up that the user-centric identity community was working on the solution to that problem. I talked to Steve a bit about it…he was like well we can just build that into App Exchange – I said well really it is going to live outside of that … the donors have an identity that they manage somewhere and it can talk to the nonprofit organizations they donate to. He got that it would be ‘outside’ their system and that it would be a good thing to have happen.

I got to seek Dick’s talk about Sxip Access it was a good talk and I think a great product for the problem it is solving. It helps the Enterprise Directory talk to ASP’s outside the enterprise ‘wall.’ This is a huge market and as more and more Office 2.0 ASP offerings are made it will only increase in demand. I case you were wondering Dick is still using the Viagra metaphor to talk about these subjects.

There were at least four office 2.0 applications at the conference and I talked with all of them about OpenID2 (Jive, INetOffice, ScanR, another one).

The internet cafe…was an uncafe. They had no terminals for you to use to check e-mails (I left my laptop at home). They had a rock concert by Train (I had never heard of them) in the evening and an openbar for like 4 hours (from like 6-the rock concert ended at like 10). It was very dot comish and people were commenting on that.

The product that seemed most interesting from an identity perspective was Domodomain that does ip analysis of the traffic coming to your website to let you know from where they are coming.

US crosses the 300 million threshold

For those of you who don’t know I happened to have a Minor in Demography. When you think about it – Demography is sort of the opposite of individual ‘identity’ it does aggregate measures of people across whole populations.

This story peaked my interest not because it highlights the total US population count but the fact that the population is growing fast enough to mitigate the the forthcoming challenge Europe and Japan face of declining population and an enormous number of old folks relative to young people.

From the article:

The U.S. is the fastest-growing industrialized nation in the world, adding about 2.8 million people a year.

Paying women in Europe for children
Russian President Vladimir Putin is so concerned he recently proposed paying women money to have children. Last year, France increased monthly stipends to parents who take time off work to care for a third child.

When Japan announced in June that its population had shrunk in 2005 for the first time, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said, “The data must be accepted gravely.”

On Friday, Japan announced that it is now the world’s most elderly nation, with more than a fifth of its people 65 or older. Italy is second.

On average, women must have 2.1 children in their lifetimes for a society to replenish itself, accounting for infant mortality and other factors. Only one country in Europe — Albania — has a fertility rate above 2, according to statistics gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency. Russia’s fertility rate is 1.28. In Japan, it’s 1.25.

Momentum has a section on Digital ID

My friend Allison Fine finally got her book published – Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age. On her blog she writes about engaging with the digital world. Her perspective is great because she is relatively normal. Living outside New York with her husband and three sons. She understands the power of the web to transform things but also isn’t technical enough to deal with all the usable stuff that some how we here in the Valley think is usable.

I got to talk with her while she was writing her book and she included a section on Digital Identity along with giving me the closing quote of the book.

Here is the Digital Identity section:
I must preface this by saying that when I was talking to her about 9 months ago it was not clear that OpenID was coalescing the way it has. I am going to work with Allison to see if we can get an update on her blog saying that YADIS is really receded into the background and OpenID is where it is at.

The Internet has grown up in such a topsy-turvy manner that there have not been any standards for protecting the identity of users. Even though we may try to opt out of potential spam, almost every Internet user has made the mistake and logged into the wrong site, one that didn’t care about privacy. The result was a flood of e-mails opening up an astonishing world of genitalia enlargements and enhancements. You may have devised your own pass codes but the companies you logged into own them, and by logging into their systems you have given them the right to use that information for their own purposes even if they do not sell it to others.
According to a paper released in 2005 by Microsoft, “Online identity theft, fraud, and privacy concerns are on the rise, stemming from increasingly sophisticated practices such as ‘phishing.’ The multiplicity of accounts and passwords that users must keep track of and the variety of methods of authenticating to sites result not only in user-frustration, known as “password fatigue,” but also insecure practices such as reusing the same account names and passwords at many sites.” (the term phishing refers to the practice by scam artists of sending out official-looking messages in an attempt to trick people into giving them their pass codes and other digital-identity information.)

My digital identity is the information that others know about me through my online interactions. I keep a folder on my computer that contains the different pass codes and registrations I have online. It is an ever-growing list that includes news sites, travel services such as Amtrak and airlines, memberships for activist groups and products and services such as recipes and Amazon.com. All these sites have at least my e-mail address. And these are the logins and information that I know about. Who knows what permissions I have given to companies by clicking on various end-user licensing agreements for various software and websites! Susan Crawford , an expert on digital law and privacy, has written, “Some part of identity is controlled by the individual, but most of the identity is crated by the world in which that individual operates. We can think of identity as a streaming picture of a life within a particular context. Each of us has multiple identities. The sites we click on, whether a link on an e-mail or a page on a website, are carefully registered, analyzed, and sometimes even sold by companies trying to capitalize on and profit from where our eyes have gone.

Attention Trust, an activist organization in San Francisco Bay Area was created to counter this trend. Attention Trust advocates that any site we, as customers and citizens are looking at is our ‘attention,’ and that this attention is both valuable and private. The organization is pressing for increased disclosure by trackers of data they are collecting and how they are using these data. Attention Trust wants to shift the ownership of our attention away from companies towards individuals.

Worrying about spam and feeling the need to constantly invent and reinvent pass codes and new online identities are taxing our imaginations and patience. In the absence of face-to-face contact, you cannot know who you are interacting with online and what their intentions are. A push back on digital identity has begun. For instance, decoupling cell-phone numbers from cell phones was a victory for individual users over the telephone companies.

But, what would happen if we flipped the digital identity equation and required service providers to ask permission to user our identity only in certain preferred ways? This is where Identity Commons, YADIS (Yet Another Digital Identity System), and similar efforts come in. Digital Identity efforts, sometimes called user-centric efforts, are building rules, tools and frameworks for open, trusting online networks. The internet has developed in stages. The first stage, when the internet was still a project of the Defense Department, established an open electronic network relaying information quickly and safely between scientists. The second stage when the World Wide Web was introduced in the early 1990’s opened the Internet up to users who were not techies – both individuals and businesses, both legitimate and nefarious.

The next stage of Internet development is combining the best of the first two stages: the open trusting connections formed in the first stage and the usability and scale of the second. Digital identity is a critical aspect of this third stage of development. The responsibility for creating new identities to access information or sites now resides entirely with the user or customer. But now efforts are being made to develop software tools, including new universally unique identifiers (UUIDs) that can be used instead of e-mail addresses. UUIDs are like Social Security numbers; users can choose whether to share them with others. These new systems allow you, the owner of the identity, to create a profile of yourself once, and allow to use parts of it on request. So, for example, I might give the New York Times permission to use my e-mail address but for one year and for updates only. I might also choose to give the Red Cross my e-mail and home address and my telephone number so that they can alert me to emergency situations and let me know how I can help locally.

The next generation of digital-identity systems returns control of information to individuals and away from companies and spamers. New digital-identity systems represent a gigantic shift from the way the internet currently works. It reverses the polarity from crating numerous identities that go into sites never to be seen again (And potentially sold or shared unwittingly with others) to sites’ coming to you and asking permission to use parts of your identity that you control. The new way is back to the future, back to the way the original architects of cyberspace envisioned relationships being formed and information being shared online.

The Book Closing:

As long as we have social problems to solve, we need to keep searching for a better way. This need has been urgent for some time, and with each passing day of government inaction it becomes more so. As we have seen in Momentum, such broad, positive and sustainable change is possible in the Connected Age.

Kaliya Hamlin, an activist, advocate and blogger perhaps put it best when she said, “Social change is happening. People are exchanging ideas, learning from one another and learning to trust one another in new and different ways, particularly….strangers. This process will lead to new and different ways of tackling existing problems — we don’t have to come up with solutions, we just have to get out of the way of passionate people and good ideas will emerge.’

Paul how does SAML help exactly?

I thought you could clarify how you think SAML will help with this.

While multiple screen names can be tracked at home, the company is working on a tool to associate different screen names across school and home to notify parents.

Isn’t the whole point of the Laws of Identity that people should not have there identifiers aggregated across contexts without their knowledge.