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Identity 2.0 - mashup*

25 Apr, 2007

I went to the Identity 2.0 mashup at BT by St Pauls yesterday as part of my commitment to try to get more involved in the London start-up scene. I met some very friendly people including Ian Forrester, Stephan Tual and Paul Walsh and was pleased to catch up with Simon Willison and Natalie Downe.

Although I'm approaching the issue of digital identity from a technical point of view most people who attended were looking at it from a business perspective and frankly seemed a bit behind the times. Overall I was surprised at just how much disagreement there was about about the various concepts surrounding identity. It still means very different things to different people and whilst there was a general sense that OpenID is likely to play a major role in a future identity system for the web, no-one seemed quite sure how. Many people I talked to still had concerns about the basic concepts of the technology and whether it was even secure enough to be able to adopt in real commercial systems.

I still have a lot of faith in OpenID but the one thing that seems clear is that OpenID in its current form isn't workable for the needs of most businesses. Whilst companies may be willing to provide OpenIDs they aren't so keen on accepting them to grant access to systems where users have any sort of sensitive data like phone numbers or addresses. Of course at the moment OpenID isn't really aimed at those markets but I don't think it can really take off until it is.

Anyway, here are some of the points that stuck in my mind:

As an aside. I've had £700 stolen from my account over the last few days by a fraudster withdrawing cash from cashpoints in Milan. I still have my card so the person must have been using a clone. The experience has made me even more aware about of the flaws in current digital identity systems and the risks involved if they fail.

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