Envisioning identity

Virtually everyone I read has recently pointed to Dick Hardt's marvelous Identity 2.0 rap. I watched it twice, and greatly enjoyed it both times. In the decade I've known Dick I've seen his communication chops steadily improve, and I'm delighted by the well-deserved accolades he's now receiving. At the same time, though, I worry that the hugely successful style of this presentation may overshadow its substance. Sampling the reviews:

Fantastic style. Appeals to my short attention span.

Apparently, also known as the Lessig Method. One word per slide, keep the pictures simple.

If you ever use powerpoint to deliver a presentation, you should watch it. It might change the way you use it in the future.

What does good powerpoint look like? It looks like this. Also a great intro to sxip, of course.

In fact, while the presentation is a great introduction to the topic of user-centric claims-based identity, it says little about how the Sxip implementation works, and what kind of user experience it entails.

Back in February, I showed how the ACLU's visualization of an identity dystopia had reached lots of ordinary folks before it came to the attention of thought leaders in the world of identity technology. I suggested that the would-be architects of our digital identity future ought to visualize their alternative and hopeful scenarios as clearly as the ACLU had imagined its dark vision.

That's still the case today. Even a tech-savvy person like me has a hard time envisioning, never mind comparing, the interaction scenarios proposed by various identity schemes including Sxip, Microsoft's InfoCard, Shibboleth, and federated PKI. Civilians will ask questions like:

How do I sign up?

What kinds of credentials will I use?

Where will those credentials work, and where won't they?

What happens if I lose my credentials?

How do I control the release of my private information?

What are my rights concerning information that I do release?

These are questions best answered with live online demos, or screencasts, or both. Given the former, I can and will help with the latter.

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2005/10/05.html#a1315