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Will a Little Openness Solve Your Web Identity Crisis?

Apr 04, 2008, 09:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carla Schroder)

"'Identity Management' for the Internet is a long-unrealized dream; a centralized magic single sign-on for the whole Internet. The idea is to spare us Web surfers from the hassles of managing multiple logins, and instead have a single universal logon verified in some magical way by a trusted third party. Then when we visit RantyForums or GeekToyz or Nellie's Best Beer and Chocolates or wherever we want to go, Nellie et al will use this trusted third party to verify us. Nellie and the rest of the Internet won't have to maintain their own customer verification systems, and we Web surfers won't have to work as hard either--all we need to do is establish a good secure relationship with a single (or limited) number of identity managers.

"But should we entrust something as powerful as a single sign-on to a single identity manager, or even a few select ones? I keep a written record of all of my different online accounts, from shopping sites to online forums, and it contains over 100 different logins. That's a lot of goodies to store in one basket. But the idea is to make it a stout, well-protected basket, or perhaps several stout baskets, instead of an unmanageable gaggle..."

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