Recent Activity Pt 2: Canada & Boston

Immediately following IIW (post here). I headed to Canada to speak at the International Women in Digital Media Summit.

The iWDMS brings together professionals from traditional and digital media communities, as well as educational/research institutions from around the world.  With high level keynotes, cross-sector dialogue, expert panelists, controversial debates and structured networking, the Summit will promote knowledge-sharing, and will explore innovation, skills gaps, policy and research in digital media–including gaming, mobile, and social media–and the impacts on and advancements by women globally. 

I gave an “Ideas and Inspiration”  talk for 20 min about the Personal Data Ecosystem called The Old Cookies are Crumbling: How Context & Persona aware personal data servcies change everything and will transform the world and was also on a panel about New Media Literacies.

There are a few things I took away from this event:

1) Countries like Canada are very small with just 30 million people and the center of commercial/intellectual life in Toronto an event like this really brings together a core group of high profile women in the media production business that represents much of the industry.

2) Both the government of Canada, provinces like Ontario and universities like Ryerson  are very serious about attracting and retaining top technology and media talent with a variety of tax and investment incentives.

3) See point (1) because of that …one must think internationally about appeal and distribution of any media across the whole world not just one market.

4) The way they talk about diversity used lang had language I never heard before the term “designated groups” included folks with disabilities, first nations people (in the US they would be “American Indians”), women, and ethnic minorities.

5) The idea that people shouldn’t be stalked around the web to “monetize” them was new and provoked some thinking amongst those who made their living developing metrics.

It was great to connect to Canada again and I hope that with the IIW coming up in Toronto in February some of the women who I met there can attend and consider how media can change with new tools for people to manage their identity and data.

I got to meet up with Aran Hamilton  (@Aranh) who coordinated efforts around the NSTIC of Canada in Toronto. We outlined the possibility of a Satellite IIW in Toronto and I learned more about what is going on there.  Basically up to point  (1) above…Canada is small.  95% of people have a bank account and of that something like 85% have accounts with one of 5 banks (Bank of Montreal, Toronto Dominion Bank/Canada Trust, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotia Bank) and there are 3 telco’s. So it seems like getting an NSTIC like system in place in Canada could involves meetings with a few dozen people.  They have the added advantage that Canadians have a higher trust in their government and institutions like banks and telco’s and have fewer “privacy rights” organizations.  So our IIW should be interesting and I hope that we can get some good cross over between the January 17th event in DC and this one.

After Toronto headed to the 4th MassTLC Innovation Unconference.  It was great to be joined by Briana Cavanaugh who is working with me now at UnConference.net.  The community was thriving and it was the biggest ever unconference that I have run at 800 people and lots of sessions.  Jason Calacanis who apparently has relocated to Boston was there.  Jeff Taylor was there and had a rocking “un-official” after party that he DJ’ed.   The most notable costume was a guy in a suit with a 99% on his forehead. Yes Occupy Wall Street became a halloween costume.

 

 

 

Is Google+ is being lynched by out-spoken users upset by real names policy?

Following my post yesterday Google+ says your name is “Toby” not “Kunta Kinte”, I chronicled tweets from this morning’s back and forth with  Tim O’Reilly and Kevin MarksNishant  KaushikPhil Hunt,  Steve Bogart and Suw Charman-Anderson.

I wrote the original post after watching the Bradley Horwitz (@elatable) – Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) interview re: Google+. I found Tim’s choice of words about the tone (strident) and judgement (self-righteous) towards those standing up for their freedom to choose their own names on the new social network being rolled out by Google internet’s predominant search engine disappointing.  His response to my post was to call me self-righteous and reiterate that this was just a market issue.

I myself have been the victim of a Google+ suspension since July 31st and yesterday I applied for a mononym profile (which is what it was before they insisted I fill out my last name which I chose to do so with my online handle and real life identity “Identity Woman”) 

In the thread this morning Tim said that the kind of pressure being aimed at Google is way worse then anything they are doing and that in fact Google was the subject of a “lynch mob” by these same people.  Sigh, I guess Tim hasn’t read much history but I have included some quotes form and links to wikipedia for additional historial context.

Update: inspired in part by this post an amazing post “about tone” as a silencing/ignoring tactics when difficult, uncomfortable challenges are raised in situations of privilege was written by Shiela Marie.  

I think there is a need for greater understanding all around and that perhaps blogging and tweeting isn’t really the best way to address it.  I know that in the identity community when we first formed once we started meeting one another in person and really having deep dialogues in analogue form that deeper understanding emerged.  IIW the place we have been gathering for 6 years and talking about the identity issues of the internet and other digital systems is coming up in mid-October and all are welcome.  The agenda is created live the day of the event and all topics are welcome.

Here’s the thread… (oldest tweets first)

 Note all the images of tweets in this thread are linked to the actual tweet (unless they erased the tweet).  [Read more…]

Google+ says your name is “Toby” NOT “Kunta Kinte”

This post is about what is going on at a deeper level when Google+ says your name is “Toby” NOT “Kunta Kinte”. The punchline video is at the bottom feel free to scroll there and watch if you don’t want to read to much.

This whole line of thought to explain to those who don’t get what is going on with Google+ names policy arose yesterday after I watched the Bradley Horwitz – Tim O’Reilly interview (they start talking about the real names issue at about minute 24).

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Lets try going with the Mononym for Google+

Seeing that Google+ is approving mononyms for some (Original Sai, on the construction of names Additional Post) but not for others (Original Stilgherrian Post Update post ).

I decided to go in and change my profile basically back to what it was before all this started.  I put a  ( . ) dot in the last name field.  In my original version of my google proflile my last name was a * and when they said that was not acceptable I put my last name as my online handle “Identity Woman”.

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Google+ and my “real” name: Yes, I’m Identity Woman

When Google+ launched, I went with my handle as my last name.  This makes a ton of sense to me. If you asked most people what my last name is, they wouldn’t know. It isn’t “common” for me.  Many people don’t even seem to know my first name. I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself talking with folks at conferences this past year and seeing ZERO lighbulbs going off when I say my name “Kaliya”, but when I say I have the handle or blog “Identity Woman” they are like “Oh wow! You’re Identity Woman… cool!” with a tone of recognition – because they know my work by that name.

One theory I have about why this works is because it is not obvious how you pronounce my name when you read it.  And conversely, it isn’t obvious how you write my name when you hear it.  So the handle that is a bit longer but everyone can say spell “Identity Woman” really serves me well professionally.  It isn’t like some “easy to say and spell” google guy name like Chris Messina or Joseph Smarr or Eric Sachs or Andrew Nash. I don’t have the privilege of a name like that so I have this way around it.

So today…I get this

I have “violated” community standards when using a name I choose to express my identity – an identity that is known by almost all who meet me. I, until last October, had a business card for 5 years that just had Identity Woman across the top.

Display Name – To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family, or co-workers usually call you. For example, if your full legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, either of these would be acceptable. Learn more about your name and Google Profiles.

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The Trouble with Trust, & the case for Accountability Frameworks for NSTIC

There are many definitions of trust, and all people have their own internal perspective on what THEY trust.

As I outline in this next section, there is a lot of meaning packed into the word “trust” and it varies on context and scale. Given that the word trust is found 97 times in the NSTIC document and that the NSTIC governing body is going to be in charge of administering “trust marks” to “trust frameworks” it is important to review its meaning.

I can get behind this statement: There is an emergent property called trust, and if NSTIC is successful, trust on the web would go up, worldwide.

However, the way the word “trust” is used within the NSTIC document, it often includes far to broad a swath of meaning.

When spoken of in every day conversation trust is most often social trust.

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User-Centric Identity is far from Dead – It is just getting started

A week ago Johannes wrote a post about how User-Centric Identity was dead. I totally disagree. All of the technologies that were in the mix at the beginning of the community in 2005-6 that he lists are “dead” but many innovations that have come out of the community are very much alive and new efforts that go “beyond identity” and include personal data.

I knew that the founding technologies described as fulfilling the vision of user-centric ID were dead – this was the case when the word on the street after the MIT-ISOC-W3C workshop in early December was “OpenID and Information Cards as we know them are dead” because focus and attention moving towards Webfinger and Identity in the Browser (or other agents).

I have presented about user-centric ID to executives several times this year; when I do mention OpenID and Information Cards as a starting point for potential technologies that realize some aspects of the goal of user-centric identity and how they represent two different kinds of doing identity IDENTIFIER & CLAIMS based. However, I quickly shift to talking about the issues surrounding their adoption failures and move on to discuss successful technologies OAuth and XRD.

I often call XRD the most successful technology coming out of the community. It evolved with the hard work of Eran Hammer-Lahav within the XRI technical committee at OASIS.  Yadis (yet another distributed identity system – the interim name that soon became OpenIDv2) found that XRI had a discovery format called XRDS and chose to use it – then it was found to be to complicated so Eran proposed XRD-Simple, this then became XRD and was standardized as its own specification.

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The Identity Spectrum

I published V1 of this in a post on my Fast Company blog about the government’s experiments with identity.
I did a more complete version for the opening talk of the Internet Identity Workshop

The Identity Spectrum gives a understanding of the different kinds of identity that are possible in digital systems. They are not exculsive – you can mix and match. I will define the terms below and discuss mixing and matching below.

Anonymous Identity is on one end of the identity spectrum–basically you use an account or identifier every time go to a Web site–no persistence, no way to connect the search you did last week with the one you did this week.

Pseudonymous Identity is where over time you use the same account or identifier over and over again at a site. It usually means you don’t reveal your common/real name or other information that would make you personally identifiable. You could use the same identifier at multiple sites thus creating a correlation between actions on one site and another.

Self-Asserted Identity is what is typical on the Web today. You are asked to share your name, date of birth, city of residence, mailing address etc. You fill in forms again and again. You can give “fake” information or true information about yourself–it is up to you.

Socially Validated Identity is an identifier within the context of a social graph that is linked to and because of the social links it is acknowledged by others thus being socially validated

Verified Identity is when there are claims about you that you have had verified by a third party. So for example if you are an employee of a company your employer could issue a claim that you were indeed an employee. You might have your bank verify for your address. etc.

Mixing and Matching on the Identity Spectrum
You could have a socially verified pseudonymous identity. That is people recognize and acknowledge a pseudonymous handle/avatar name by linking to it in a social graph. You can have verified anonymity where attributes about a handle/avatar are ‘verified’ but the all the information about the verified identity (full name, address, birthdate etc) is not reviled.

Chris Messina at Google – Good for him, Google & The Identity/Social Web Community.

I was one of the first people to congratulate Chris Messina on his blog when he announced he was going to Google. It was a personal congratulations. I wasn’t sure if it was good overall for the open web vision or the community as a whole. In the end after thinking about it for a few days I feel it is a good move for them, for Google and for the community. The rest of this post explains why.

With Chris going to Google it gives them three seats on the OpenID board (Joseph and Chris are both community board members and Google has a corporate paying board member seat filled by Eric Sachs). It concentrates a lot of power at Google and I agree with Eran’s concerns from Marshall’s RWW/NYTimes article …why be “open” if you can just have an internal product meeting with Brad Fitzpatrick and a few other Googlers and “ship” a product without reaching out to others. I agree with the concern and I think there will be enough eyes on these individuals in particular and Google in particular to challenge them if they do that.

Thursday morning I sat at “geek breakfast” in Berkeley with a friend discussing Chris and Joseph’s move to Google. We mused about how many people we knew who “get social” have been at Google and because “Google didn’t get social” they were unhappy so they left, Kevin Marks being just the latest example leaving in the fall for British Telecom/Ribbit where he works for JP Rangaswami, the CIO who really gets open.
Given this, if “just” Joseph Smarr was going to Google he would be more “alone” trying to “do social right” at Google. Yes, he would have allies but no one quite as high profile as himself. With Chris Messina there too, there are now two major committed community leaders who can work the politics involved in helping Google to “get” social and actually do it right. If anyone has a hope inside that big company it is those two and I don’t think either could be as effective alone.
If Chris and Joseph fail, that is if they get frustrated and leave (which they can at any time they want cause they are very “employable” because of their profiles by a whole range of companies in the valley) then is a sign that Google doesn’t really “get” social and isn’t moving in the right direction in terms of supporting the emergence of an open standards based, individually empowering & social web.
With Zuckerberg’s statement’s about privacy and the recent actions by Facebook to make user-information public, Google has a huge opportunity to live up to its slogan of “not doing evil”. Over the fall Google made some promising statements on the meaning of open and took action spinning up the Data Liberation Front.
I know many people who currently are and have been at Google. All of them talk about how secure things are internally – it is not possible to go into their systems and “look up a user” and poke around at what they have in their e-mail, or what they have searched on or what is in their google docs. Algorithms look at people’s stuff there, not people. Google takes their brand and reputation for protecting people’s private information seriously. I am not particularly starry eyed about Google thinking they can do no evil – they are just a company driven by the need to make a profit. I worry that they might be becoming too dominant in some aspects of the web and that there are legitimate concerns about the monopoly power they have in certain market area.
I don’t see this as a Google vs. Facebook fight either. Chris, Brad, Eric, Joseph are all at Google & David Recordon and Luke at Facebook; they are all good friends socially and are just six people in the overall identity community made up of about 1000 people at 100’s of companies. Yahoo!, AOL, Microsoft (enterprise & MSN side), are all involved along with PayPal, Amazon, BT, Orange, Mozilla, Sun, Equifax, Apple, Axiom, Oracle, & many many more. They all come together twice a year at the Internet Identity Workshops and other events to collaborate on innovating open standards for identity on the social web.
I invite those who want to participate in the dialogue to consider attending the 10th Internet Identity Worskshop May 18-20.

I take the health of the identity community, its over all tone and balance quite seriously. I helped foster it from the beginning really starring in March of 2004 including 9 months from June of that year until January 2005 it was my first major job – evangelizing user-centric identity and growing the community to tackle solving this enormous problem (an identity and social layer of the web for people). I along with others like Doc Searls, Phil Windley, Drummond Reed, Bill Washburn, Mary Ruddy, Mary Rundle, Paul Trevithick, Dick Hardt, Eugene Kim & many others formed the identity community. Having put my heart, soul, sweat and tears into this community and working towards good results for people & the web, I don’t say what I say in this post lightly.

Demand for Web 2.0 suicides increasing

I went to the suidicemachine and got this message

We apologize to all our users for the breakdown of our service! Within the last hours the huge demand for 2.0 suicides completely overblew our bandwidth resources!

We are currently considering relocating to another serverfarm. Please consider suicide at a later moment and accept our apologies!

You can still try to catch a free slot, but chances are quiet low at the moment!

More from their site….

Faster, Safer, Smarter, Better Tired of your Social Network?

Liberate your newbie friends with a Web2.0 suicide! This machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web2.0 alterego. The machine is just a metaphor for the website which moddr_ is hosting; the belly of the beast where the web2.0 suicide scripts are maintained. Our services currently runs with facebook.com, myspace.com and LinkedIn.com! Commit NOW!

You can even see video’s about what happens as one uses the machine.

ok the FAQ’s get eve better…..

I always get the message “Sorry, Machine is currently busy with killing someone else?”. What does this mean?
Our server can only handle a certain amount of suicide scripts running at the same time. Please consider your suicide attempt at a later moment! We are very sorry for the inconvenience and working on expanding our resources.

If I kill my online friends, does it mean they’re also dead in real life?
No!   

What do I need to commit suicide with the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine?
A standard webbrowser with Adobe flashplugin and javascript enabled. So, it runs on Windows, Linux and Mac with most of browsers available.   

I can’t see my friends being killed, what happened?
Probably your flash-plugin is older than version 10? But yikes – you cannot stop the process anymore! Once you entered the login details, the machine is running the suicide script.   

If I start killing my 2.0-self, can I stop the process?
No!   

If I start killing my 2.0-self, can YOU stop the process?
No!   

What shall I do after I’ve killed myself with the web2.0 suicide machine?
Try calling some friends, talk a walk in a park or buy a bottle of wine and start enjoying your real life again. Some Social Suiciders reported that their life has improved by an approximate average of 25%. Don’t worry, if you feel empty right after you committed suicide. This is a normal reaction which will slowly fade away within the first 24-72 hours.

Do you store any data on your webserver, like password of the user?
We don’t store your password on our server! Seriously, it goes directly into /dev/null, which is equal to nirvana! We only save your profile picture, your name and your last words! Will the 2.0 suicide machine be available for other networks such as twitter and plaxo? We are currently working on improving our products!. Currently we are working on Flickr and Hyves, but of course we are eagerly thinking of ways to get rid of our “Google Lifes”.   

How does it work technically?
The machine consists of a tweaked Linux server running apache2 with python module. Selenium RC Control is used to automatically launch and kill browser sessions. This all driven by a single python/cgi script with some additional self-written libraries. ?Each user can watch her suicide action in real-time via a VNC remote desktop session, displayed on our website via an flash applet rendered live into the client’s webbrowser. We are also running some customized bash scripts plus MySQL in the background for logging and debugging, jquery for the website and a modified version of the great FlashlightVNC application built in Flex. Web2.0 Suicide Machine consists of roughly 1800 lines of self-written code.   

Why do we think the web2.0 suicide machine is not unethical?
Everyone should have the right to disconnect. Seamless connectivity and rich social experience offered by web2.0 companies are the very antithesis of human freedom. Users are entraped in a high resolution panoptic prison without walls, accessible from anywhere in the world. We do have an healthy amount of paranoia to think that everyone should have the right to quit her 2.0-ified life by the help of automatized machines. Facebook and Co. are going to hold all your informations and pictures on their servers forever! We still hope that by removing your contact details and friend connections your data is being cached out from their servers. This can happen after days, weeks, months or even years. Just deactivating the account is thus not enough! [emphasis mine]

How much does it cost to kill myself?
Usage of Web 2.0 Suicide machine is for free.   

Can I build my own suicide machine?
Theoretically yes! You’ll need a Linux WebServer (apache2) with perl and python modules (php should be installed as well). Further, you’ll need VNC-server and Java packages by Sun to launch selenium-remote applets. If you feel like contributing or setting up your own machine, please get in contact with us via email.

You starts blogging!

Brad Topliff is sort of like me. A non-techie guy into user-centric identity, i-names, XDI and how cool they could be. He works at ooTao with Andy Dale. He has started blogging in part because he was named person of the year. The blog is called – “Who Are You?.” His second post is about how cool i-names are and where they fit into things.

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

I guess there really is a california bubble

I just found out about the Digital Media Conference that happened in DC on Friday. I am looking at it and wondering – do they (east coasters) live in a totally different reality then we do in California?

The only user generated video on the list is Google Video and You Tube. They have no blogging companies or well known bloggers presenting. I bet they have not even heard of user-centric identity.

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Exciting Day for User-Centric Identity

Tomorrow the 20th of June at 7pm we are opening the global registry for i-names. This was announced a few weeks ago by the XDI.org board. There will be 7 initial ibrokers 6 of whom are opening there doors tomorrow. There is a great site explaining i-names broadly for people and organizations along with a developer site. Cordance (Drummond Reed’s company) has a new website up too articulating its pioneering role in brining user centric, privacy protecting digital addresses to the market :)

This day is a big day for many folks who have been working on this for various lengths of time (any where from 14 years to several months). I began working in the identity space first with the very early alpha experiment that Planetwork did for its 2004 conference. While preparing for that conference (which I worked to evangelize for) I had my first “identity woman” experience about 10 guys gathered to figure out how to kluge several systems together this identity stuff together and all day I listened – learning a lot and said one thing all day. At the end of the day we took a picture and I was the only woman there.

At the conference I was hired by Owen and the Identity Commons (1.0)along with Jan Hauser to work on driving adoption of these new tools in civil society. I was thinking today while talking to Bill Washburn saying that I didn’t think we would be meeting today at Harvard on all these topics if it had not been for Owen’s significant visionary personal investment in the vision of this new identity layer – that really empowered people. The specifics of that early program never came to fruition in exactly the way originally envisioned but the results have been demonstrable in many ways. So tomorrow if you get a chance be sure to say THANK YOU! Owen.
Yesterday, Monday the 19th was a big day with this proposal put forward to the Apache Foundation to become a project there.

The project would start with Yadis for URL/XRI-based service discovery, OpenID for web based single-sign-on and the basis of exchanging profile data, and to create a desktop component with a standard look and feel, ideally working with the Open Source Identity Selector (OSIS) project.

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