This spring I attended the Executive Education program Leadership and Public Policy in the 21st century at the Harvard Kennedy school of government with fellow Young Global Leaders (part of the World Economic Forum).  A line of future inquiry that came to me by the end of that two weeks –

How do we design, create, get functioning and evolve governance systems?

The governance of governance systems = Meta-Goverancne. 

At the Kennedy program all they could talk about was “individual leadership” (with good advice from good teams of course) at the top of  Organizations.  They all waved their hands and said “Good luck young leaders, We know its more complicated now…and the problems are bigger then just organizational size but we don’t really know how what to tell you about how to interorgainzational collaborative problem solving and innovations…so “good luck”.

It was surreal because this inter-organizational, complex space is where I spend my work life helping design and facilitate unconferneces – it is in that complex inter organizational place.

I have this clear vision about how to bring my two main career bodies of knowledge together (digital identity + digital systems & design and facilitation of unconferneces using a range of participatory methods) along with a range of other fields/disciplines that I have tracked in the last 10 years.

Web Wide Sentence Level Annotation ->

I first met Dan Whaley last spring via an introduction from Jim Fournier co-founder of Planetwork.  I was inspired by the vision he was working on building –  a way to have sentence level annotation of news and other articles on a web wide scale. Really a foundation for peer review on the web. The motivation for his work is to support greater discernment of the truth around climate change and other key issues facing our society and our planet.  (Another area I could see this being really useful right now is around accountability in the financial system and ways to make that real.)

He asked me to be a part of the project as an advisor particularly around identity issues and technology options for identity.  He is taking my advice and coming to IIW this coming week.  Its an honor to be amongst other distinguished advisors like Brewster Kahle,  John Perry Barlow,  Mark Surman and others..

He has been working on a development plan and has a solid on one in place.  He has launched a Kickstarter Campaign and  stars in the video that articulates the vision of the project.  If you are inspired by the vision I encourage you to contribute.

Proactive Development of Shared Language by NSTIC Stakeholders

This is the “punchline section” (in my response it is after what is below…the history of collaboration in the identity community):

Proactive Development of Shared Language by NSTIC Stakeholders

In 2004-5 the Identity Gang (user-centric identity community) was 1/10 the size of the current NSTIC stakeholder community.  It took us a year of active grassroots effort to develop enough common language and shared understanding to collaborate. NSTIC doesn’t have 5-10 years to coalesce a community that can collaborate to build the Identity Ecosystem Framework. To succeed, the National Program Office must use processes to bring value and insight while also developing  shared language and understanding amongst stakeholders participating.

[Read more…]

Privacy Identity and Innovation – pii & Women

The Privacy Identity and Innovation is coming up August 17-19th in Seattle, Washington.

This conference is the brain child of Natalie Fonseca who has run the Tech Policy Summit for several years.

I am speaking at the event on a panel about personal data stores (a new project I will write more about here soon).  I am really proud to be amongst many other women industry leaders speaking. I know Natalie took proactive approach to recruiting women to speak and voila – their are women speakers at this technology conference.

Denise Tayloe, CEO of Privo
Marie Alexander, CEO of Quova
Linda Criddle, CEO of Reputation Share
Fran Maier, President of TRUSTe
Anne Toth, Chief Privacy Officer for Yahoo
Michelle Dennedy, VP at Oracle
Judith Spencer of GSA
Christine Lemke, CTO of Sense Networks
Betsy Masiello of Google
Heather West of Center for Democracy and Technology
Eve Maler of PayPal
Susan Lyon of Perkins Coie
Deborah Estrin of UCLA

It should be a great event – the guys on the program are equally cool.

When to share your real name? Blizzard and their Real ID plans.

I was recently CCed in a tweet referencing this article “Why Real ID is a Really Bad Ideaabout World of Warcraft implementing their version of a “Real ID” in a way that violated the trust of its users.

The woman writing the article is very clear on the identity “creep” that happened and got to the point of requiring users to use the Real ID account within the system to post on forums and EVEYWHERE they interacted on company websites.

She articulates clearly why this creates an unhealthy climate and a chilled atmosphere for many users.

[Read more…]

On Social Web TV

I was down in Mountain View yesterday to appear on Social Web TV. I was a special guest as Chris and David were both at FOWA in London. We got to talk about the community process around the Internet Identity Workshop and Data Sharing events that has helped moved the standards for the open social web forward.

I hope you enjoy the episode – I clearly need to practice being on “TV” a bit more but hey – don’t we all.

What the Heck is Identity Commons?

The purpose of Identity Commons is:

The purpose of Identity Commons is to support, facilitate, and promote the creation of an open identity layer for the Internet — one that maximizes control, convenience, and privacy for the individual while encouraging the development of healthy, interoperable communities.

This one sentence jams a lot into it – we tried to do that so the purpose didn’t go on and on – but was clear, broad and inclusive of the range of issues that need to be addressed and balanced. Jamming so much into that one sentence also creates a challenge – it has to be ‘parsed’ quite a bit to get what it all means. I worked with Chris Allen recently to separate out the values within the purpose and our community. This is our initial draft that is still evolving (wordsimthing suggestions are welcome).

We believe in the dignity of human individual in the context of the digital world.

In order to make this true we strive for a balance of factors and valuesas digital systems and tools evolve:

  • Individual control, convenience & privacy
  • Sharing of information when participating in community
  • Support for commercial and non-commercial exchange
  • Interoperability and openness between systems

We work to bring these values into practice by fostering a collaborative a community of individuals, organizations and companies share these values and are working together towards practical technical implementations.

We share a pragmatic idealism.

We work to practice what we preach and have openness and transparency in what we do.

We do know there are a lot of technical social and legal issues that arise and Identity Commons is a space that make it possible to in a non-directive non-hierachical way address them in a collaborative way.

We also have some shared principles mostly concerning how we organize ourselves and work together. Each has a sentence to articulate it further.

1. Self-organization
2. Transparency
3. Inclusion
4. Empowerment
5. Collaboration
6. Openness
7. Dogfooding

What the heck is an “open identity layer” – well we don’t exactly know but we do have a community that has come together some shared understanding and continue to ‘struggle’ with what it means and how it should work. Identity Commons provides a ‘common’ space to work on this shared goal by facilitating dialogue and collaboration.

Kim Cameron introduced the terminology “identity meta-system” and articulated what that might mean. The Laws of Identity were put forward by him along with some additional ideas by other community members.

There is no “decider” or group of deciders or “oversight committee” as part of Identity Commons ‘directing’ the development of the “open identity layer”.

We are a community collaborating together and working to exchange information about our independent but related efforts working towards the vision. The way we do this is via the working group agreement.

  1. Asking each working group to articulate its purpose, principles and practices by filling out a charter – this helps us be clear about how different groups work and what they do/are planning on doing
  2. Stewards review proposed working group charters – ask questions, consider were there are synergies, and see if they are aligned with the purpose and principles
  3. A vote of the stewards council is held
  4. Working Groups agree to report quarterly on their activities to remain active as groups of the organization – this also is our core ‘inter group communication mechanism – so that you don’t have to be on 20+ mailing lists to know what is going on in the community.

More about Stewards:
Each working group has one steward and an alternate for the stewards council.

The stewards are responsible for the things IC holds in common – the brand and its integrity and common assets (like the wiki and bank account). It does not ‘direct things’.

Stewards have (an optional) monthly phone calls and discuss and make decisions on a mailing list (that anyone can join).

More about Working Groups:
There are working groups within Identity Commons that support the community collaborating – the stewards council does not ‘run’ these groups but they serve the community and our efforts together- The Internet Identity Workshop, IC Collaborative Tools, Idnetity Futures, Id Media Review, Identity Gang, Marketing and Evangelism.

Working Groups come in several forms:
They can be an group of people with a passion to address something they feel needs to be addressed to get to the big vision. They want some wiki space and a mailing list to talk about the issues. Examples include Enterprise Positioning, Inclusive Initiatives, Identity Rights Agreements.

They can be an existing project that are part of a larger organization, Higgins is an example of this – they are a project of the Eclipse Foundation.

They can be something that grew out of conversations in the Identity Commons community and found a home within another organization like Project VRM (charter) has as part of the Berkman Center and will likely become its own ‘organization’ independent of Berkman by the end of the year.

They can be completely independent nonprofit organizations with their own boards, governance, bank account etc. examples include and OpenID.

Some just get technical stuff done as part of IC like OSIS (doing its 3rd Interop at RSA in a month), and Identity Schemas.

Benefits to being explicitly a part of the IC Community.

clarity about each groups purpose, principles, and practices – so that collaboration is easier.

sharing of information via the collaborative tools and lists, along with the required quarterly reporting,

We “don’t know” what an identity layer looks like but we do know it needs to have certain properties to make it work for people the extensible nature of IC gives people the freedom to start a new group that addresses an aspect of the vision. This is the page on the IC wiki that explains our organizational structure.

We are a community.
We are a community more then “an organization” and joining does not mean subsuming a group identity under IC but rather stating a commitment to a shared vision, common values and commitment to collaboration.

A touch of formalism can help create great clarity of group pratices (governenace), leadership, intention, and focus. Not needed for small groups of 12 people doing one thing- helpful when you scale to the 1000’s of people working on the big vision. IC through its groups structure has 1000’s of people participating helping to innovate the technology and think about the social and legal implications.

We are not about “a solution” or “a blue print” there will be multiple operators and multiple standards – yes like the web there may one day be ‘standard’ that emerges just like TCP/IP did and HTML/HTTPS – however it is way to early to promote or be behind “one” thing, it is not to early to start collaborating and building shared meaning and understanding and interoperability between emerging efforts.

Identity problems in the digital realm are as much about technical issues as they are about the social implications and legal issues. Identity Commons explicitly makes space for the social and legal issues to be deal with in relationship to the technologies as it evolves.

In closing there is a background (shorter) and a history (longer) written about the community as it evolved.

AT&T has programming language for surveillance

on the WIRED Blgo Network

From the company that brought you the C programming language comes Hancock, a C variant developed by AT&T researchers to mine gigabytes of the company’s telephone and internet records for surveillance purposes.

An AT&T research paper published in 2001 and unearthed today by Andrew Appel at Freedom to Tinker shows how the phone company uses Hancock-coded software to crunch through tens of millions of long distance phone records a night to draw up what AT&T calls “communities of interest” — i.e., calling circles that show who is talking to whom.

The system was built in the late 1990s to develop marketing leads, and as a security tool to see if new customers called the same numbers as previously cut-off fraudsters — something the paper refers to as “guilt by association.”

Soon we will know what you are thinking

This came through Slashdot and was on the BBC:

Since 9/11, some of the best scientific minds in the defence industry have switched their concentration from tracking nuclear missiles to tracking individuals such as suicide bombers.

This quote is in the side bar make it sound all OK. Opinion polls, both in the US and Britain, say that about 75% of us want more, not less, surveillance



Ian Kitajima flew to Washington from his laboratories in Hawaii to show me sense-through-the-wall technology.

“Each individual has a characteristic profile,” explained Ian, holding a green rectangular box that looked like a TV remote control.

Using radio waves, you point it a wall and it tells you if anyone is on the other side. His company, Oceanit, is due to test it with the Hawaiian National Guard in Iraq next year, and it turns out that the human body gives off such sensitive radio signals, that it can even pick up breathing and heart rates.

“First, you can tell whether someone is dead or alive on the battlefield,” said Ian.

“But it will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised. And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We’ll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they’re actually thinking.”

AOL launches cool OpenID enabled App: Ficlet

Yesturday walking through the exhibit hall at SXSW the AOL Principle Product Managerd Micheal Cummins came up to me and said he had to show me this new OpenID enabled app – Ficlets.

It is a really cool idea – you get to start a story by writing a ficlet and other people get to continue it. The first thing that came to my mind was the fact that you could end up with collaboratively created Choose your own Adventure style stories.

The other thing that this makes clear is that someone inside AOL has read the Innovators Dilemma/solution and is supporting a creative culture within the company. With this I look forward to seeing what other cool apps/features emerged and how they can play in cultivating an thriving OpenID ecology.

Polar Rose soon to search photos for faces on the web

This story comes from Slashdot. A startup Polar Rose is about to launch a face search tool.

Polar Rose relies on a combination of our unique face recognition algorithms and the collective intelligence of our users….we don’t and can’t rely exclusively on face recognition, but also harness the collective intelligence of our users who help train our software and tag names on people we haven’t seen before.

We will open up for a royalty-free use of our API’s, which will allow for partners to integrate the Polar Rose functionality into existing sites or create stand-alone applications of Polar Rose, for example:

* A news site that wants to let users help tag photos, and link stories together based on who appears in photos.
* A photo-sharing site that wants to let users automatically tag new uploads, and search and sort archives based on the people in a photo.
* A social networking or dating site that wants to wants to help users find more pictures of a person, elsewhere on the net or just in the photos of the person’s friends.

The only significant requirements we put for the use of the APIs, is that the Polar Rose signature rose is used, and data that users generate is passed back to us on a non-exclusive basis. The reason being that every piece of data helps train our engine.

Some have privacy concerns. I certainly do – when Riya was pitching similar face recongintion for a flickr like tool I was creeped out. They are now doing a visual search engine so you can put in a purse or boot that you like and it searches for purses and boots like that.

Privacy concerns from New Scientist:

Polar Rose and future developments that make facial recognition available to the masses risk encroaching on people’s privacy, warns Yaman Akdeniz, director of the UK non-profit group Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties.

“Although this sounds like a great idea, I would not like to be searchable in this way, or so easily tracked without my consent,” says Akdeniz. The database compiled by Polar Rose is similar to the kind of biometric database some governments wish to use, he points out.

“I wonder whether they have a right to build such a database,” says Akdeniz, he suggests people think twice before embracing such potentially intrusive tools, and consider which photos of themselves they allow online.

Others agree. Simon Davies, director of the campaign group Privacy International and a specialist in technology and privacy at the London School of Economics, UK, says face-searching technology is valuable but must be used responsibly.

He fears Polar Rose could help identity thieves or stalkers, or even be used by the police to monitor protesters. “They could use the service to find where people have been, what their activities are, or who they associate with,” he says.

Search engines should allow users to prevent their photos being searched, says Davies. “There should be a way to put code in a webpage that signals you want to opt out,” he told New Scientist.

Cool new wiki feature

I went through TechCrunch today as I do on a weekly basis to check out what is new in web2 land. Lots of kids building interesting things but I kind of think mmmm…to a lot of them. Also lots of acquisition rumors. By the end of it I wondered why me? Why this industry almost completely devoid of meaning in a particular way.

The one cool ting that I did find was a new feature called “UnPlug” for SocialText Wiki’s so you can get a section of a wiki you want to edit on your computer and work on it ofline (say on a plane ride) and then when you plug back in it is uploaded. VERY COOL.

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.

Cool Human Internet tricks

They are relevant to identity because it is interesting how people use the net to form their identity and do interesting things to make a buck doing things that would be impossible without it.
There are a few interesting “Internet Tricks” that I have come across and I thought I would share. The earlier one is One Million Pixels – where a guy sold one web page’s pixels for a dollar each in minium blocks of 10×10. He made his money.

This one a guy started off with One Red Paper Clip and is trading it up for a house he started less then a year ago and is now trading for a years free rent in Pheonix.

People Tracking for Advertising goes high Tech

This head line explains it all. they’re-in-the-phone dept. the WSJ is reporting that Integrated Media Measurement Inc. is creating a device that will sample peoples environment every 30 seconds for sounds to determine what ‘messages’ and ads they are being exposed to.
Just wait until it isn’t just that they are tracking.

Broadband Scandal – heading towards 3rd world connectivity

$200 Billion Broadband Scandal was posted to a list I am on today.

New investigative ebook offers micro-history of Verizon, SBC, Qwest, and BellSouth’s (the Bell companies) fiber optic broadband promises and the consequence harms to America’s economic growth because they never delivered and kept most of the money, about $200 billion.

New York: This is one of the largest scandals in American history. America is 16th in the world in broadband and the US DSL current offerings are 100 times slower than other countries such has Japan and Korea. How did we go from Number 1 in the web to 16th in broadband and falling?

* Are customers owed $2000 for a fiber optic service they paid for but never received? Did towns and cities, libraries and schools, government agencies, and every residential and business customer subsidize new networks that never showed up?
* Did America lose $5 trillion in economic growth, $500 billion annually, because of these missing networks?

People like Gnomdex so there is BAR Camp

From Marc Canter

Doc and I are doing a panel on the ‘OpenWeb’ so I hope folks come or at least tune-in via webcast or IRC. But the AO conference WILL be propogated by VCs and rich people – and I prefer hanging out with normal people the best.

That’s why I love Gnomedex. I sure hope there’s another one – soon – like at the end of September.

I found this in my list of saved but not posted blog posts. Seems like Marc’s wish is going to come true – BAR Camp is this weekend. I just found out about it from Eugene Kim’s blog (he has been posting some great stuff this past week about wikimania and collaboration patterns). Likely I will go down with Mary and share the demo of i-names sso working on wordpress that I did at DrupalCon in Porland two weeks ago.

TLD Craziness

DESPITE FIERCE CRITICISM from Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the Web, ICANN has decided to go ahead and create a new TLD (Top Level Domain) aimed at mobile phones and other mobile devices.

ICANN hasn’t posted it on their website yet, but according to one of their board members, the .tel top-level domain was approved.” is going to be one of the first domains sold.

Perhaps there is one good thing about xdi – there is one organizational names space @name.

Tagging using XRI

Drummond just posted a fantastic articulation how on might use XRI to do open tagging. Some of you may not be following the emergence of Tagging in the blogoshpere but it is really real with many services now empowering their members to tag. It has exploded so much that they have begun he World’s First Social Social Tagging Site Tagging Site site Supercilious. Tag Tuesday is the real hub of this emerging developer/social media creator community. Perhaps Drummond has just created the outlines for a presentation there I know Nile was asking for suggestions about who could present the next month so let them know when you will be in town D.

Creating Spaces for Innovation and Conversation

I have just gotten back into the swing of things – reading all the blogs I should be etc. I am starting off where I put things down about two months ago (I have 4000+ posts to scan/read in my identity streams folder).

Reading this post by Mary I remember the citizens jouranlism day that was less then ideal. The whole event got me thinking about the art and skill involved in creating good containers for people to gather in. The day was a disaster on a bunch of levels.

  1. First of all there was no clear map to get to the location. After we arrived Mary and I made a sign out of a paper bag to make sure others coming after us would actually know where to turn in.
  2. It was summer in SF at the Precido – for those of you who don’t know that means it will likely be very cold, windy and foggy. People were not warmed of this and so basically everyone was freezing.
  3. This was a meeting about internet citizen journalism – I had assumed we would be meeting in a building with wifi – not the case.
  4. When one calls an event and it has a start time – it is good for the host to actually show up prior to that time to welcome folks. Our host that day arrived an hour late and got to saying hello to everyone at 1.5 hours after the stated start time.
  5. It is good to feed people at events – so there was some effort made in this direction – hotdogs and hambergers. No one was really organized to actually cook the food. Two of the women who were just there to participate ended up taking the lead in preparing food. They had not volunteered for this role before hand but no one was doing it so they stepped in and cooked.
  6. After introductions concluded we all moved down to the internet archive – this was a packed room and 30+ people were trying to have one conversation. We were all looking to the organizers for some structure to the conversation – none was really provided.
  7. I am told that after I left the conversation did get better.

I am not writing this to be purely critical but to highlight some real world examples of the challenges that aries when organizing in person event. Consciousness about how to bring people together could be further cultivated in this community. 40 amazing people were asked to and willingly volunteered 6 hours of their time on a SUNDAY to join this discussion. More attention and for thought could have been given to the container created.

This metaphor of the container is one that comes from my work in spiritual activism. How are you going to honor peoples time and the gifts they are bringing to what ever purpose you have. This container involves the whole of the event:

  • the initial intention
  • who is included in manifesting the intention
  • who is invited
  • choice of process and facilitation
  • proposed goals outcomes
  • the physical aspects of the event –
  • Location – inside/outside – bigroom/lots of small rooms – bathrooms or not
  • nourishment needs (food and drink)

The creation of a strong community container is one of the keys to success for online worlds too. Claire from SUN has this post referencing Caterina Fake about how they (FLICKR) focused (and continue to focus) very strongly on the container of community. This positive field of feedback has drawn energy towards them.

People are more likely to work well together well not only when they have a common interest or shared set of goals – but also when there is a personal connection. I try to work well with most people, but I’m much more motivated to to cut people slack when I know a little bit about who they are, when I can tease them about their taste in a band called FloggingMolly, when I know that they like to delve into 1337 5p34k on occasion, or if I know that her talented brother went to RISD and is friends with the infamous creator of of Andre The Giant Has A Posse.

Caterina Fake of Flickr fame recently blogged about building a flickricious sense of community (gotta love that word) – and the importance of personal connections caught my eye. One relevant quote from Caterina – the part about personal – and authentic – communication is at the end of the paragraph:

“In the beginning, the creators of the community space have to create the tone and attitude of the place, set the parameters of what is and what is not allowed, and participate heavily, engaging directly with other people, mercilessly kicking/banning trolls, creating a real sense of there being a there there. Friendster, and the banning of “Fakesters” is often used as an example of a misunderstanding of online community — but I think this misunderstanding went back further, to the beginning. I was an early member of Friendster and, the first message I got was from the founder. “How do you like the service?” he asked, and not — and this is really the crux of it — “Pynchon! Man, how can you read that stuff! DeLillo is 10X better.” or “ZEPPELIN ROX! Zoso is my favorite album!!!” I’d filled out a profile. See what I mean?”

What’s the conclusion? Growing the OpenSolaris community is going to involve building lots of these personal connections. Personal and authentic, not stiff and corporate. Cool.

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