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A Look at Mozilla's BrowserID Project

Jul 28, 2011, 09:00 (0 Talkback[s])

"Unlike OpenID, which associates every "decentralized" identity with a specific URL that the user is responsible for maintaining, BrowserID regards email addresses as the user's identity. Everyone has an email address, and they already regard it as personal identifier — no extra conceptual work required.

The login process for a BrowserID-compatible site starts with the site asking for an email address and proof-of-ownership (which is called an "assertion" in official BrowserID parlance). In the simple method, in order to log in, the user's browser and email provider will both need to support the assertion-generation process, but there are provisions for working around this. In any event, however it is generated, the browser returns an assertion that includes the email address in question, an "expiration date" (so that ne'er-do-wells can't capture and replay logins later), and an address-ownership certificate.

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