There are many formal definitions of Digital Identity (see here, and here, for examples.) Here at Digital Id World, you will find that Eric and I have one of the largest conceptual views of digital identity and its significance to networked computing that you will find anywhere. Given that, it is only right that we should begin this blog with an introduction to what we will be talking about here and why.
We will report on things that happen in the news that relate to Digital Identity and provide some perspective on them. We will also provide background, perspective and orientation on the various identity technologies, their evolution over time, and how they apply to business and social uses of networked computing. Over time you will come to notice that there are several "stories" that digital identity is part of. Along with mapping the identity industry and its eco-system, exploring these story lines will form the framework of what we will write about in this blog. A "short list" of some of these story lines are:
- Developing a "big picture" understanding of identity and computing.
- How security has tried to virtualize location based concepts, why these don't work at scale, and how they ultimately come to fight the missions of networked computing.
- Why identity is the only management/security paradigm that is ultimately available once applications become truly networked with global reach.
- Why adaptive systems and agents require identity as an organizing principle to create reliable operation and avoid chaos.
- The evolution of identity management from centralized to de-centralized.
- The emergence of virtualization as a networked alternative to hierarchically organized synchronization and meta-replication.
- Compliance as both a cause and effect in identity based networked computing.
- The increasing need for identity interoperability on various fronts.
- The evolving outlook on security as risk based, not binary and location based and how identity enables such approaches.
- What technology and business must do to drive end user adoption of stronger authentication mechanisms without creating negative user experiences.
- The evolution of identity usage from "big folks to "little folks" - why this is happening and its implications.
- The development of user-centric identity, and the impact of user centricity on computing and the business and social processes it serves.
- The use of identity to build agile, adaptive enterprise.
- The use of identity to enable better capabilities in virtual enterprises and outsourcing.
- The increasing demand for granularity and flexibility in identity as a more mature understanding of the needs and nature of networked applications grows.
- How and why identity management is moving down market to smaller businesses.
- Following vendors who are realizing they are in the identity business when they previously didn't think they were.
- Why digital identity is enabling and facilitating a transition in enterprise computing that is analagous in many respects to the mainframe to PC transition.
- The nature of networking that identity enables, and its effects on both computing and those who use it.
- The new applications that will only reach their true potential after identity is correctly integrated into them, such as Mashups, Telco identity plus location value add services, electronic media syndication, RSS based services, and much more.
- The lawlessness of the network (e.g. Identity fraud, phishing, spam, piracy, intellectual property theft) and other symptoms of the network's identity deficit.
- The iterative processes which identity will unleash, and how these will change both technology and business
- How federation and other identity based linking leads inevitably to the decentralization of identity
- Identity and the "networking dynamic" - moving from point-to-point application paradigms to truly networked, overlapping, webs of applications.
- The effect of identity on the enterprise - changes that moving to identity as a management method will both enable and inevitably cause to occur.
Today, identity in computing is mostly being revealed by the symptoms of its absence. What isn't so obvious is why we don't intuitively see the reasons for these symptoms, and why the instinctive human reactions as to how to "fix" the problems we do see are so often wrong. This blog will explore the exciting ecosystem and variety of technologies that are arising in response to the continuing, and accelerating, virtualization of the physical world in cyberspace.
You can see from this "short list" of stories we will follow that we view identity as one of the most significant technologies in computing. Today we are on the frontier of both understanding and developing identity technology, and thus it is both the most exciting time and the time when people who learn about digital identity can have the most impact on how many things will ultimately turn out.
With the growing focus on user-centric computing, distributing and recombining application segments (web services, mashups, etc.) and the impending release of technologies such as InfoCard and Higgins that will expose wide user and developer audiences to the concepts of identity based computing, it is a time when digital identity will appear to many to "suddenly emerge" as a hot topic. What is happening is the inevitable result of reflecting the way people manage their lives into cyberspace and learning that identity is center there, as it has always been in the physical world.
We want this conversation to be interactive, so if you have other ideas about what we should cover, let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.