Will a Little Openness Solve Your Web Identity Crisis?

“‘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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