Thinking about for the future: Two ideas from Dave Winer

Dave Winer suggests these two ideas for topic areas to be covered on the Techcrunch 20. I think both of these are excellent ideas to put collective attention towards.

1) Ideally I’d like to have a discussion about a roadmap for the next ten years in Internet entrepreneurship. Which ideas of today will still be around in ten years and which won’t? What problems will be solved that will change the nature of products we can make in the future? I think that’s a hard nut to crack, but there are some obvious things — for example the mythical podcast player we’re always talking about.

I think that the models of entrepreneurship that are ‘well understood’ are being distrusted by the barriers to entry being lowered. It is now much easier to try stuff out and experiment for a low cost. I also think that the interplay between the digital and physical world is an liminal space where opportunities emerge. Just look at the 4-hour work week.

I also think in thinking about a road map one also has to think about obsticals. There are a whole range of social, legal, governance, transparency and economic shifts that are occurring and will occur with the innovations unfolding. How are these supported or at least not inhibited by legislative and cultural hystaria that can arise around potential negative issues? If we as an industry foster broader public dialogue (a resource with a range of methodologies is the National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation) ahead of the curve maybe we can help mitigate some of the knee jerk responses that we see happening.

2) I’d like people to talk about some crazy idea they have, ideas they don’t think will get funded, but products they’d like to see nonetheless. Companies don’t solve all the problems out there, some things get created with little thought of creating a company, but they end up creating opportunities for companies — things like folksonomies, syndication, digital photography and video, blogging, podcasting. Personally, I’d like to see us make archving really work, so what we create on the web may outlive us.

Crazy ideas without funding are often that lay the foundation for really rich ecologies of innovation. I just read a paper by John Hagel III and John Seale Brown called Creation Nets: Harnessing the Potential of Open Innovation. Here are some quotes:

If you read many of the champions of open innovation, they
describe these efforts in ways that shed little light on the management methods required to harness the potential of these initiatives. In fact, by using terms like “emergent” or “self-organizing”, one could easily get the impression from these champions that these efforts cannot really be managed, that they acquire a life of their own beyond the reach or influence of any individual company.

Now, of course, knowledge does not “flow” – it tends to be, in fact, very “sticky”, especially outside very narrowly defined communities of practice. Unlike information which can be more readily codified and disseminated, knowledge tends to reside in individuals and it is very context specific. For this reason, knowledge sharing typically requires trust-based relationships and a sharing of practice.

These creation nets are generally organized first by institutions and individuals on the periphery. With a few notable exceptions, larger institutions tend to be more complacent, especially at the outset, about the implications of accelerating change. They put more value on stocks of knowledge and established positions. In contrast, individuals and institutions playing on the edge see a greater need to form new relationships. They have fewer resources and they see first-hand, often earlier than others, the need to build new knowledge and create new offerings.

They point out that ‘self-organizing’ doesn’t ‘just happen’ people are behind creating the relationships and the culture of communities that actually get these done. I think the identity community is an example of one.

Another point that is raised these things that become ‘free’ are incredibly difficult to get funded. I have managed to ‘hack’ together a living over these past 3 years working passionately on user-centric identity…it will be a huge market for services but will be build on an open infrastructure. The amount of money it actually took to do what we did was actually very little for the overall industry ROI.

How is this industry more conscious of these very useful but ‘free’ innovations? What are the patterns that we know help them emerge? I am not sure they are all ‘in the future’ either. What ideas came before their time and might now be ready for development and diffusion -that could bring real value. I am spending today at Eugene’s Hyperscope sprint. They are working on manifesting core elements of Doug’s Hyperdocument system in today’s web browser (here is the recommended reading from Eugene’s site) It uses JavaScript using the Dojo toolkit and works in Firefox and IE. It uses OPML as its base file format. It is open source and available under the GPL.

When you get into the ideas and see the working prototypes. It is amazing to imagine the power of these tools if they continue to develop and diffuse.

I creation net weaving might fit in the social entrepreneur category of things and could be funded by the ‘social entrepreneur’ funding world. Ashoka, Skoll, Echoing Green, Omidyar, Schwab Foundation and Google Foundation. There may be a challenge in getting funding from these types of foundations because the people these institutions tend to seem to be mid-career have to have been very successful already (before getting funding – because foundations are very risk averse). It also doesn’t exactly fit their model funding “individuals” a person who has ‘an idea‘ towards funding the work of of Net Weavers who realize potential catalytic interactions between communities or among companies. Catalyzing creation nets on the edges in the liminal spaces between things is where rich social innovation can come from. I found this paper Building Smart Communities through Network Weaving by Valdes and June in the summer of 2003 and immediately understood my core competency and skill was described as a netweaver. I spent the summer of 2003 learning and reading all I could about network theory so it could inform my practical vision for systemically connecting my community at the time. It helped me understand the kind of online architecture that would make sense to support the network beyond the face-to-face that they are good at already. Having read the Augmented Social Netework: Building Identity and Trust into the Next Generation Internet I knew that user-centric digital identity would be very helpful to realizing the vision. (Because digital identity “wasn’t there yet” to implement and I saw it was critical I got involved with the community who cared about this at the time and have worked ever since on it.)

So back to the beginning of this post what is the roadmap? How does discern it and support the interesting innovative and risky stuff? Perhaps finding or developing THE ‘road map’ but bringing together different groups/people that have potential to grow a shared vision that can be worked towards. We didn’t have a “road map” in user-centric identity but talked enough to discover many of us had a similar vision and did the hard work of building same understanding, shared understanding and shared language, so we could actually talk to one another. Eugene writes about some of this activity in the identity community here.

Finally, simply scheduling time and space where SharedLanguage is the primary goal is useful. People are good at figuring out how to communicate with each other if you give them the space to do it. If you set unrealistic expectations on the first day of a three day event, then you just stress out your participants. If you spend the first day exploring broader questions, your participants may feel flustered or frustrated, but they will find that the work goes much more smoothly in the ensuing days.

Developing SharedLanguage is an ongoing process. Doing actual work is one of the best ways to build shared context, which in turn builds SharedLanguage. The trick is to have stagger your work goals based on the SharedLanguage that already exists. The exercises you go through can become more and more focused over time, as the amount of SharedLanguage increases.

Identity is deep topic and it took quite a while for this to emerge. It seemed like we were ‘just talking’ and not getting anything ‘done.’ However this was the work that needed to happen before it was possible to innovate standards together and do the hard work of making different standards interoperate. I am really amazed at how far we have come and how visible that was at this weeks Interoperability event at the Burton Group Catalyst Conference. There is a lot more work do be done to get Identity Commons really healthy but this is an amazing milestone for the community, user-centric identity and for the web.

Catalytic Catalyst OSIS demo tonight!

This is my third Burton Group Catalyst. It is hard to believe it has been two years since I first came to this event and that the first one I went to was before the first IIW in the Fall of 2005. Today when Gerry Gebel in his talk Can Frameworks Bring It All Together he highlighted The Internet Identity Workshop as a hub of activity in this area and even that it was an unconference!. OSIS one of the working groups of Identity Commons also was highlighted because of its activity and the interoperability demo tonight.

I have lots to say about what I have heard today on Net Nutrality, Power Tools, The Questions, The Community. I will be posting more on that later.

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PingID Annouces

So the ‘big’ press announcement from PingID was the launch of it is a pure play for end-user identity management. All it does is work on the users behalf – it gives them and OpenID and helps them manage info cards. They are going to leverage a lot of their code base that they have developed for their business to business federation products in this business to customer (or as I like to think of us as Netizens).

Plaxo 3.0, sucky Yahoo! groups

I found out about Plaxo 3.0 going live because Joseph Smarr (who works at plaxo) and I are facebook friends and he had a presence message this morning that said he was excited about it going live.

Here is a view the link to on their home page – impressive syncing.
It still makes me wonder about having a function on most of these tools that gives access via ‘myAPI’ rather then via your username and password.

With LinkedIn saying that it was opening up this creates a whole new ball game. Those existing networks with many users have a lot of advantage over ‘startups’ getting people to join if they can figure out what services to offer and how to make it relevant.

I set up a new e-mail account and two yahoo groups last week for Farmer Joe’s the local family owned store in my neighborhood. I could not believe how bad the user-interface was. Coming from sites like 37Signals HIghrise or BaseCamp or Facebook even. The quality is sooooo poor. I am glad their CEO is gone because if they don’t get better fast they are going to die. They could be THE social network of choice for so many groups that us it but because of their lame functionality and lame adds they will just go elsewhere.

Identity and Face Book

I have been in facebook a while. Jordan Moncharmont who works at Facebook and is a student at Stanford invited me into the network after Ruby on Rails Camp. I just didn’t get it at all. What was the difference between a note, a message a wall message a poke? It just seemed silly to me but I knew it was all socially contextual and relevant to the kids using it. I ‘felt old’ because I didn’t understand the tools (now I know how ‘normal people feel’ I thought when I show them all my tools).

So a month ago at CFP (Computers Freedom and Privacy). I took the opportunity to meet up with some of the women that I was on the Canadian National Waterpolo Team with.
They were both on facebook – wow I thought this is going mainstream. Apparently the Ontario Government had to block access to Facebook for employees it was going that mainstream.

So two weeks ago I started getting all sorts of friend request from folks in the tech community. So I dove in. Shortly there after my best friend from Grade 4 and 5 found me. ‘Hey did you used to be Kaliya Young?’ she asked – “yes” (I changed my name on the system to my current full legal name Kaliya Young Hamlin so that all my friends from my life in school know it is me). I also wondered if my sister would have a profile…SHE DID! Something is really going on with this platform.

I invited lots of folks in my google address book cause I could easily. This included Dennis Hamilton.

Today, I received a Facebook friend invitation from Kaliya Hamlin, Identity Woman. Oh oh, this is getting serious. I’m honored and touched that Kaliya would invite me. I figure it is time to pay attention and see how Facebook might fit into our mutual interest in identity topics.

Well as a matter of fact it does.
There is the OpenID group
the Digital Identity Group and
the Identity Gang of Identity Commons.

So far I like most things about it. I like presence updates from people. It gives me a sense of what people are upto, thinking about etc. this is the same reason people like twitter (I am not on twitter cause 1) my phone doesn’t do outgoing txt. 2) I can’t figure out how to get it to work with my IM Client)

I like that they opened up to other developers. Many people are building interesting applications. I don’t like that only 6 of them can show in my side toolbar without me clicking on the ‘more’ button.

I enjoy sending messages because it makes the whole conversation with you and the other person threaded.
Dennis has some concerns. (however he just posted a presence message this morning so I know he is using it daily still).

It is a Silo. – sure but people can build all sorts of stuff on it.
What will be interesting to see is how groups move about cyberspace – none of us is loyal to any of these platforms more then gamers are loyal to ‘a game’ they are loyal to the social groups that they play with. Raph Koster pointed this out at Supernova. We are loyal to the groups we do work with and socialize.

My what if is – What to do about those people who asked to be your friends who you don’t want to be friends with? Or that you don’t know at all? I am not sure. They get stuck in friend request purgatory? This could use some improvement.

danah boyd has written an essay about class divisions emerging between different social networks and the use by young people.

The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other “good” kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we’d call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn’t go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. Teens who are really into music or in a band are on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

Class divisions in military use
A month ago, the military banned MySpace but not Facebook. This was a very interesting move because there’s a division, even in the military. Soldiers are on MySpace; officers are on Facebook. Facebook is extremely popular in the military, but it’s not the SNS of choice for 18-year old soldiers, a group that is primarily from poorer, less educated communities. They are using MySpace. The officers, many of whom have already received college training, are using Facebook. The military ban appears to replicate the class divisions that exist throughout the military. I can’t help but wonder if the reason for this goes beyond the purported concerns that those in the military are leaking information or spending too much time online or soaking up too much bandwidth with their MySpace usage.

The whole essay is very good. She writes at the end about her worries for teenagers today.

User Agent’s Spotted at Supernova

I had a good time overall at supernova. I found two user-agent’s.

Well what is a user-agent? they are programs that work on the users behalf. I found this definition on Dr. K’s Blog:

it would seem that “user-centric” identity is about creating an “agent-in-the-middle” architecture for identity systems. An agent (usually automated) for the user sits in the middle of the identity flow, analyzing the flow request and determining how to handle the response. The determination would be based on policies defined by the user. It may require the agent to bring the user in for an explicit approval, or it may automatically approve or reject the flow based on previous user preferences (similar to the user checking the box that says “do not ask me again”). It may also apply a configured rule or policy to the identity flow that determines the action to take – ask user, approve, reject.

So who were these agents? One was WiMoto – when I fist talking to Scott Redmond he was explaining his tool…and I just didn’t like it..about advertising on my phone etc…THEN all of a sudden I ‘got it’ – I said “oh this is cool you have a user-agent.” I explained what it was from our ‘user-centric identity’ perspective. He was like sure I guess what is that we have. I met him early in the evening of a cocktail party where he would be demoing throughout. At the end he said he was eternally indebted to me for giving him that word “user-agent”. Apparently it let him communicate effectively to the other folks all night. It is now on the front page of their website. I still don’t get exactly how it works though.

The second user-agent I found was MyStrands – it is a mobile social networking app for night clubs. So you can text to the screen when you are in shared space together (like at the night club). It also lets you opt in to get information about the bands and clubs. So it is a promotion network. They look like their are going some where!

Frontline: Spying on the home front

I am a fan of public television. I grew up with the CBC and its wonderful documentaries and comedies (Kids in the Hall anyone). Since moving to the US I have found Frontline and since I don’t have a television I am blessed to be able to watch it online.

They recently had a great show called Spying on the Home Front that was well done and quite disturbing. Basically we are all being spied on all the time because we are all suspects in the doctrine of pre-emption. The disturbing thing about it all is the use of National Security letters that can not be discussed. This double silencing is particularly disturbing. I picked up a book called the Elephant in the Room:Silence and Denial in Everyday Life – it highlighted this phenomena.

Yet what makes conspiracies of silence even more insidious than covering it up is the fact that the silence itself is never actually discussed among conspirators. Unlike when we explicitly agree not to talk about something (“let’s not get into that”), the very fact that the conspirators avoid it remains unacknowledged and the subtle social dynamic underlying their silence are thus consealed….
the reason it is so difficult to talk about the elephant in the room is that “not only does no one want to listen, but no one wants to talk about not listening.” In other words the very act of avoiding the elephant is itself the elephant! Not only do we avoid it, we do wo without acknowledging that we are actually doing so, thereby denying our denial.
Like “rules against seeing rules against seeing,” being “forbidden to talk about the fact about the fact that we are forbidden to talk” about certain things, or the fact that “we do not see what we prefer not to, and do not see what we do not see,” such meta-denial presupposes a particular form of self-deception famously identified by Orwell as “doublethinking,” or the ability “consciously to induce unconsciousness and then to become unconscious of the act of Hypnosis you had just performed.” Thus in Nineteen Eighty-Four, when Eastasia suddenly assumes Eurasia’s traditional role as Oceania’s perpetual enemy and the Oceanians set out to immediately destroy or rectify any references ever made to their long-lasting war with Eurasia, Orwell astutely observes that “the work was overwhelming, all the more so because the process that it involved could not be called by their true names.”

I would recommend the the Frontline show and would love to discuss it with others who have seen it. Perhaps this can be another one for our Media Review Group. I hope there will be a critical mass of folks to actually talk about this next week at Burton Group.

9/11 has indelibly altered America in ways that people are now starting to earnestly question: not only perpetual orange alerts, barricades and body frisks at the airport, but greater government scrutiny of people’s records and electronic surveillance of their communications. The watershed, officials tell FRONTLINE, was the government’s shift after 9/11 to a strategy of pre-emption at home — not just prosecuting terrorists for breaking the law, but trying to find and stop them before they strike.

President Bush described his anti-terrorist measures as narrow and targeted, but a FRONTLINE investigation has found that the National Security Agency (NSA) has engaged in wiretapping and sifting Internet communications of millions of Americans; the FBI conducted a data sweep on 250,000 Las Vegas vacationers, and along with more than 50 other agencies, they are mining commercial-sector data banks to an unprecedented degree.

Even government officials with experience since 9/11 are nagged by anxiety about the jeopardy that a war without end against unseen terrorists poses to our way of life, our personal freedoms. “I always said, when I was in my position running counterterrorism operations for the FBI, ‘How much security do you want, and how many rights do you want to give up?'” Larry Mefford, former assistant FBI director, tells Smith. “I can give you more security, but I’ve got to take away some rights. … Personally, I want to live in a country where you have a common-sense, fair balance, because I’m worried about people that are untrained, unsupervised, doing things with good intentions but, at the end of the day, harm our liberties.”

Although the president told the nation that his NSA eavesdropping program was limited to known Al Qaeda agents or supporters abroad making calls into the U.S., comments of other administration officials and intelligence veterans indicate that the NSA cast its net far more widely. AT&T technician Mark Klein inadvertently discovered that the whole flow of Internet traffic in several AT&T operations centers was being regularly diverted to the NSA, a charge indirectly substantiated by John Yoo, the Justice Department lawyer who wrote the official legal memos legitimizing the president’s warrantless wiretapping program. Yoo told FRONTLINE: “The government needs to have access to international communications so that it can try to find communications that are coming into the country where Al Qaeda’s trying to send messages to cell members in the country. In order to do that, it does have to have access to communication networks.”

Spying on the Home Front also looks at a massive FBI data sweep in December 2003. On a tip that Al Qaeda “might have an interest in Las Vegas” around New Year’s 2004, the FBI demanded records from all hotels, airlines, rental car agencies, casinos and other businesses on every person who visited Las Vegas in the run-up to the holiday. Stephen Sprouse and Kristin Douglas of Kansas City, Mo., object to being caught in the FBI dragnet in Las Vegas just because they happened to get married there at the wrong moment. Says Douglas, “I’m sure that the government does a lot of things that I don’t know about, and I’ve always been OK with that — until I found out that I was included.”

A check of all 250,000 Las Vegas visitors against terrorist watch lists turned up no known terrorist suspects or associates of suspects. The FBI told FRONTLINE that the records had been kept for more than two years, but have now all been destroyed.

In the broad reach of NSA eavesdropping, the massive FBI data sweep in Las Vegas, access to records gathered by private database companies that allows government agencies to avoid the limitations provided by the Privacy Act, and nearly 200 other government data-mining programs identified by the Government Accounting Office, experienced national security officials and government attorneys see a troubling and potentially dangerous collision between the strategy of pre-emption and the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Peter Swire, a law professor and former White House privacy adviser to President Clinton, tells FRONTLINE that since 9/11 the government has been moving away from the traditional legal standard of investigations based on individual suspicion to generalized suspicion. The new standard, Swire says, is: “Check everybody. Everybody is a suspect.”

German Data Retention, NSA doesn’t Trust itself & FBI and “spying student” profiles

From Slashdot:

“Google is threatening to shut down the German version of its Gmail service if the German Bundestag passes it’s new Internet surveillance law. Peter Fleischer, Google’s German privacy representative says the new law would be a severe blow against privacy and would go against Google’s practice of also offering anonymous e-mail accounts. If the law is passed then starting 2008, any connection data concerning the internet, phone calls (With position data when cell phones are used), SMS etc. of any German citizen will be saved for 6 months, anonymizing services like Tor will be made illegal.”

Well if the can’t collaborate maybe they can’t spy on us all that well?
Linked to the Baltimore Sun from Slashdot:

NSA employees also do not trust one another, which has left the agency fragmented and in search of a “unity of purpose,” according to a task force report released to employees late last month.”What we need is fundamental change in the way we manage NSA and what we expect of management and ourselves,” concluded the study, which was led by George “Dennis” Bartko, the NSA’s deputy chief of cryptanalysis. The Sun obtained unclassified portions of the report and eight related documents.

From Presssec:

US university students will not be able to work late at the campus, travel abroad, show interest in their colleagues’ work, have friends outside the United States, engage in independent research, or make extra money without the prior consent of the authorities, according to a set of guidelines given to administrators by the FBI.

linked to from Slashdot:

“FBI is offering to brief faculty, students and staff on what it calls ‘espionage indicators’ aimed at identifying foreign agents. Unexplained affluence, failing to report overseas travel, showing unusual interest in information outside the job scope, keeping unusual work hours, unreported contacts with foreign nationals, unreported contact with foreign government, military, or intelligence officials, attempting to gain new accesses without the need to know, and unexplained absences are all considered potential espionage indicators.”

Finally LinkedIn will be opening up

Dan Farber on ZDNet Blogs

I talked to LinkedIn founder and Chairman Reid Hoffman on Friday at the Supernova 2007 conference about Facebook’s rapid growth and potential incursion into his territory. He told me that over next 9 months LinkedIn would deliver APIs for developers, ostensibly to make it more of platform like Facebook, and create a way for users who spend more time socially in Facebook to get LlinkedIn notifications.

MOre on this subject from allfacebook:

Since Facebook opened their platform almost a month ago, I have been receiving the majority of my professional contact requests through Facebook and not LinkedIn. I have read others around the blogosphere that are experiencing the same phenomenon. As this occurs, LinkedIn is going to have to take some sort of action that keeps them in the game. This may be it. Enabling developers to build applications for their network would be huge, but they would also have to be cautious when launching a developer platform. LinkedIn is known for its absence of distractions within profiles. If they opened their platform, individuals’ profiles could rapidly become cluttered with excess features. As a result LinkedIn would need an effective application filtering process that only allows value-added applications to their platform. While this is currently an unverified source, it makes a lot of sense.

Virtually everyone I know in LinkedIn is just a passive user…it isn’t a hastle to say yes to requests but what do “with it” almost nothing besides browse around occasionally. Facebook is actually useful and lets me see what my network is up to. Imagine if all LinkedIn did was let me see my entire network’s latest blog posts.

Where is Identity: Supernova 2007 Panel: Do you know where your Identity is?

Here are the slides for my introduction for the Identity Panel at Supernova. The reason explained OpenID was to level set for the audience what was happening in the market today that was obvious. I also contextualized it within a whole community of collaborative work – so much activity not enough time on an introduction to the basics to dive into. If you want to see the whole panel on BlogTV here it is.

I also have a longer talk that I gave at Web 2.0 that goes into more detail about some of the social issues and where the technology is. This a PDF of the text of my talk..

Further Resources on the Final Slide.

Identity Commons
Laws of Identity
Pamela Project

Higgins Project
Bandit Project
Liberty Alliance
Concordia Project

Internet Identity Workshop
#5 Dec 3 – 5, 2007
#6 May 12-15, 2008

Yeah! for the Fourth Amendment

I have been worried about this for a while (see this post from Dec 2006 and way back when in August 2005 when I first was alerted to this issue) Just when things were looking really grim on the online privacy front this ruling came in…..from Wired Blogs:

The ruling by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio upheld a lower court ruling that placed a temporary injunction on e-mail searches in a fraud investigation against Steven Warshak, who runs a supplements company best known for a male enhancement product called Enzyte. Warshak hawks Enzyte using “Smiling Bob” ads that have gained some notoriety.

The case boiled down to a Fourth Amendment argument, in which Warshak contended that the government overstepped its constitutional reach when it demanded e-mail records from his internet service providers. Under the 1986 federal Stored Communications Act (SCA), the government has regularly obtained e-mail from third parties without getting warrants and without letting targets of an investigation know (ergo, no opportunity to contest).

It is sort of odd that it is about penis spam but hey – freedom is freedom is freedom.

To reach its decision, the court relied on two amici curiae that presented compelling arguments for shoring up current privacy law with respect to e-mail. The article is worth reading in full.

Online Community Unconference: Identity Session

Besides facilitating at the Online Community Unconference last week I also lead a session about. OpenID and the potential for persistent Identity. I asked the audience what they wanted to know about – 1/2 had heard of OpenID and wanted to explore what it would mean to adopt it. Another 1/2 wanted the basics of how it worked – so we started with that on the whiteboard.

I began talking about identifier options – second or third level domains for URL’s and top level or second level domains for i-names (XRI). We talked about how in each case there is one you pay for and one you don’t but then are beholden to the site you get your delegated name from. Then I introduced the Relying Party where the user presents their identifier to login. The RP has the code to figure out where to redirect the user to their OpenID Provider or host….the user is prompted to authenticate and if successful redirected back to the RP. We did not get into the phishing hole really at all. Once this was clear we moved into a circle and talked about more of the issues involved. Thomas Kriese from the Omidyar Network continued the next session about how community managers should share reputation.

There was also a session about Keeping the Party Rolling that had a lot of resonance with creating good face-to-face meetings but also has something to do with why user-centric Identity is cool. It keeps things moving smoothly on the web.

Women In Tech

While surfing around the women in tech world I found this statistic on Ubuntu Women.

An EC funded study (2006) summarized in the Flosspols report, indicates that about 1.5% of FLOSS community members were female, compared with 28% in proprietary software. The Ubuntu Census Survey (June 2006) also reflects a similar female ratio with 2.4% women actively volunteering in the Ubuntu community.

I understand we are not an ‘open source community’ but I think we do have fewer women then the 28% in corporate tech. I was struck at AOL two weeks ago how many women were there. I wonder why more women from the corporate world don’t come to events like IIW and other tech conferences.

I hope that we can continue to improve the number of women participating in Identity. In the hallway of IIW I came across a little pod of three women I have never before seen at an IIW event – this was great! I hope that along with being proactive in inviting various interested communities to the next IIW we can also reach out to respected women who could contribute to the conversation.

Age and Idetntity in Second life

I just found this from someone linking to my WoW piece. It seems that Linden Lab will be doing age verification – from their blog:

We will shortly begin beta testing an age and identity verification system, which will allow Residents to provide a one-time proof of identity (such as a driver’s license, passport or ID card) and have that identity verified in a matter of moments.

Second Life has always been restricted to those over 18. All Residents personally assert their age on registration. When we receive reports of underage Residents in Second Life, we close their account until they provide us with proof of age. This system works well, but as the community grows and the attractions of Second Life become more widely known, we’ve decided to add an additional layer of protection.

Once the age verification system is in place, only those Residents with verified age will be able to access adult content in Mature areas. Any Resident wishing to access adult content will have to prove they are over 18 in real life….

Landowners are morally and legally responsible for the content displayed and the behavior taking place on their land. The identity verification system gives them new tools to ensure any adult content is only available to adults over 18 because unverified avatars will not have access to land flagged as containing adult content…..

The verification system will be run by a third party specializing in age and identity authentication. No personally identifying information will be stored by them or by Linden Lab, including date of birth, unless the Resident chooses to do so. Those who wish to be verified, but remain anonymous, are free to do so.

There is an extensive FAQ in the blog post. It seems that online life is going to get more complex. I wonder what vendor they are going to use for this. I wonder how it will work internationally.

The other thing I wonder about is how necessary is this. I kids are exposed to so much already. I am currently reading GenerationMe: Why Today’s Young American’s are more Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before by Jean M. Twenge. Some of the book talks about the current attitudes about sex and the sexual practices of young people. The Monica Lewinsky was all happening when they were in elementary school. They know what sex is and many many of them are doing it – lots are having oral sex (mostly the girls giving it to the guys) in middle school and by highschool many are sleeping around with a lot of partners ‘hooking up’ without really being in boyfriend girlfriend relationships. Yes they are doing it with their peers and not other adults but it is not like it is news to them. I am not condoning this trend of hyper sexually active young people. The number and range of these surveys means it is real not imaginary. I also don’t think they should have access to adult areas of Second Life. The issue is serious and I think there is a social dialogue about sex, its meaning would be a good thing to foster. It is a disconcerting to learn how casual it is being taken by youth however as the author points out imitating the way it is portrayed in the media. So what is the big deal with Avatars in a virtual world I wonder. I hope this question is not to much to ask and that I will not be harshly judged for having asked if we should ask this question.

Personally I gave up on SL 9 months ago for other reasons. I was fed up with downloading a new massive client to wander around an aimless 3D space. Then to top it all off the were hacked and you had to call them to get a new password. I also was annoyed the first thing you had to do was pick your name with some strange last name from a list they determined. Once you picked your name you couldn’t change it….it was the one thing persistent about you. I think online 3D has potential but I am convinced there will be worlds that leapfrog SL.

Here are some of the comments about the proposal on their site

I do not wish to have my personal information – my SSN or anything else, in the hands of a 3rd party organization – or even in the hands of SL. I am very cautious about what info I put out there – and considering how easily sites can be hacked, this is a security issue. Some of us have RL clearances and do not want more info out there – and as such – we will now be unable to access adult content? Let’s face it that’s why many of us put up a credit card for premium membership – to prove our age. Further proof is a burden on the players that we should not have to bear.

First, you should be aware it is illegal to require an individual to provide his/her social security number as a means of identification to anyone but the Federal Government. Second, if driver’s license and or SSN is provided to you or your agent you may become legally liable for the misuse, loss, or theft of that information for the purposes of fraud or identity theft. Good Luck.

A third party that LL trusts and isn’t giving us who this third party is, I’m taking issue with. The moment I give them my driver’s license, they will now own my name, address, license number, AND because I live in a state that puts the Social Security number on the driver’s license, they will have that as well. I’m not impressed with this action nor do I trust LL’s belief in this third party that they will not keep this data. Prove it!

“Driver’s license, passport or ID card” are you joking?

I think you need to come to grips with a few things. Half the residents in SL do not live in Puritanical America. Your ‘immature’ attitude toward sex and alcohol are not shared by the majority of people on Earth. There is no drinking age in most of Europe and Asia and most people look upon sex as a normal human activity.

What about those of us without passports, drivers’ licences or any form of national ID? You falsely assume that all adults have one of these things – not all of us drive, go abroad or live in countries with Big Brother-style ID card schemes.

The best bit IMO is we’re now expected to pay for the privilege of being treated like adults. Are we not mature enough to be given the responsibility of ignoring things we don’t want to see? The way I see it this system is good in theory but completely flawed in practice.

Once again, Linden Labs adopts a US-sentric attitude. US players only have to provide the last 4 digits of their Social Security numbers, while non-US residents have to provide a full National ID Number (whatever that is, and whatever countires use them) or a full passport number! What about people who have no National ID, or passport? What are they to do?

This sounds very heavy handed. It sounds like a roomful of lawyers, FBI Agents, and other law enforcement put the fear of Gawd in to Linden to have them take the extreme step of seeking partial social security numbers, and age verification via key documents. I believe the point has been raised the credit card verification is typically enough to meet age requirement guidelines.

As a UK resident, I do not feel comfortable about giving personal details to an as yet unamed data collection company, which I assume is US based.

With the current climate in the US as regards to Bush’s evesdropping on data communications to aid the War on Terror(tm), I do not want to end up on some US government database as belonging to a virtual porn-ridden community run by a bunch of subversive godless burnt-out californian commie hippies (Ann Coulter is hawt!!).

Yet another contact service.

I got an invitation to SpokeIn touch yesterday. This is “the open network for business people” What I didn’t get was how it was any different then any other ‘stay in touch’ thing like Plaxo (which I don’t use). In fact I am not going to use anything in this genre until they are using open standards that interoperate with other systems. Below the fold is the actual e-mail if you want to dive into it. And no I don’t want to sprinkle the world with my hCards. Please consider building the equivalent using XRI/XDI. It also strikes me that one would need to trust the service one is sharing all this information with. I have no basis for trusting them right now – who has had a good experience with them?
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Identity and Crowdsourcing Interview on Assignment Zero

I was interviewed for the new Wired effort to crowd source articles called Assignment Zero. Appropriately enough the first article is about Crowd Sourcing. This whole new modle of writing is one of the reasons that Bruce Sterling stopped writing for the magazine.

In my Interview “Your Online Identity Defines Your Role in the Crowd: Identity Woman builds networks of trust, face-to-face and through Internet Identity

This was a fun interview – at first I thought it would just be about unconferences but as we got to talking it became clear that Identity had a role to play in improving the potential of crowd sourcing. I am not a big believer in the power of ‘random groups of people’ solving complex problems. I think persistence of identity over time and context that allows the development of a transaction history or record could really be interesting because it is an architecture that can support the emergence of trust.

Supernova Open Space June 19th – come talk about Identity

I am working with Supernova to facilitate their Open Space day on June 19th at Warton West this is going to be great. It is basically free with a price of $25 (this is so that people who say they are coming actually do).

The Supernova Open Space Workshop is an open forum on the social, moral, technical, and strategic questions impacting the increasingly connected world in which we live. Discussions about topics like user control, neutrality, identity and open standards are setting the stage for future policies and economic decisions. Come to this event to learn more, participate in the community and shape the future of the New Network.

Doc is going to be actively involved and hosting active conversations around Vendor Relationship Management. I hope we can also dive into other aspects of identity and the next web.

Sex offender mixup on MySpace and AmeriTrade Spam

Last week there were some interesting identity developments.

summary: Ms. Jessica Davis had her Myspace profile eliminated because it matched a name in a sex offender database. She tried to resolve it with Myspace but they were very unhelpful. She went to the press after learning about a new information sharing agreement between MySpace and states attorney generals. She is planning to go into law and public service and did not want to be in a position for the rest of her life defending her innocence because they put her in some database.

AmeriTrade Spam: “On April 14, 2007, I signed up for an AmeriTrade account using an e-mail address consisting of 16 random alphanumeric characters, which I never gave to anyone else. On May 15, I started receiving pump-and-dump stock spams sent to that e-mail address. I was hardly the first person to discover that this happens. Almost all of the top hits in a Google search for “ameritrade spam” are from people with the same story: they used a unique address for each service that they sign up with, so they could tell if any company ever leaked their address to a spammer, and the address they gave to AmeriTrade started getting stock spam. “

I own MY Identity

I gave myself the name Identity Woman for a very particular reason. At the time I began blogging I had spent an entire year working full time in identity and had basically been the only woman at every one of the many meetings I had attended on the subject. At the time there was one other woman I knew of working in the field and she was on the other coast and was not blogging.

I have worked very very hard for the last three years pretty much full time to grow the community around user-centric identity along with my personal brand “Identity Woman.” I have never claimed to ‘own this space.’ I have a reputation within it because I work well with many many people from a diverse points of view and bring them together. I am the identity woman archetypically in many ways because I have catalyzed and brought the community together (along with the help of many others). This bringing together is a very feminine role that has created “fertile ground” for lots of great developments in the field.

It is much more then an ‘awareness building pseudonym’. Identity Woman â„  is my professional Identity. My blog is my professional presence. I am not ‘a title’ at ‘a company’ like almost everyone else in this field. When I was quoted two weeks ago in the in Wired Online and the NYTimes they referred to me as the Identity Woman. When I speak at conferences like O’Reilly’s and Supernova I am listed in the program as Identity Woman.

Identity Woman â„  is my brand and my Identity and I own it.

Tinfoil Hat for WoW … When is it coming to First Life?

Identity issues in Virtual worlds are interesting. World of Warcraft an online Massive Multiplayer Online Game MMOG recently launched “The Armory

a vast searchable database of information for World of Warcraft – taken straight from the real servers, updated in real time, and presented in a user-friendly interface. Since the Armory pulls its data from the actual game servers, it is the most comprehensive and up-to-date database on the characters, arena teams, and guilds of World of Warcraft in existence.

This needles to say freaked some folks out enough that Blizzard has chosen to address “player aversion to the Armory…by adding a new item, the Tinfoil Hat.”

The Burning Crusade added an abundance of new profession recipes and player-created items to World of Warcraft. One of these brand-new items is the Tinfoil Hat. While the Tinfoil Hat provides the wearer with added protection against mind control and other befuddlements, the hat’s most interesting and truly unique property is that it completely removes the wearer’s character profile from the Armory website and provides enhanced privacy for its wearer!

Now if we could only do that with our digital records.

David Kerns Comment on: Identity Faire? just come to IIW

My blog is a bit difficult to comment on (Sorry, I am working on getting this fixed) so David Kerns e-mailed me his comments on my post Identity Faire? just come to IIW.

I didn’t overlook DIDW & Catalyst, Kaliya, but found them tangential to the topic. And, to be charitable, IIW has taken a turn that makes it seem less relevant. The fixation with OpenID – which, after a fast beginning has bogged down to almost irrelevance – will be the death of the gathering. Still, it’s even more tangential than DIDW – there’s little to no discussion of corporate/enterprise ID at IIW while DIDW does, at least, nod towards user-centrism.

I did once hope that IIW could be the great self-organizing Identity Faire, but it needs to expand its vision for that to happen.

I am all for expanding the vision of IIW – that was the point of my post.

A focus on one protocol was not the goal. It happens that part of the conversation that got OpenID going happened at IIW that doesn’t mean it is the only thing to talk about there. The OpenID community has certainly taken to really showing up and using IIW to get what they want to get done as a community.

I would really love to see you and others participate in helping us shape the next IIW to be more Identity Faire like. I see one of my first jobs as the Chief Catalyst of Identity Commons is to work on diversifying IIW by pulling together ‘invitation teams’ to reach out to particular industry sectors or interest areas that we know would be good to have participate in IIW. I have started a wiki page on the current IIW site about this.

I would love to get a sense of what people see those groups being…clearly is the legal community that was highlighted at IIW’s close. One is those working on reputation in email today and those building autonomous services. Another is more corporate/enterprise Identity services companies/developers. What other niches are there? (I think the corporate enterprise sector could have several subcategories). Who else and if you think they should show up who specifically do you think should be invited and do you know them well enough to invite them – contribute it is your event.