Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Identity 2.1

Dave Weinberger absolutely nails why I worry about the whole Identity 2.0 plan, in “Anonymity as the default, and why digital ID should be a solution, not a platform.” If you know what Identity 2.0 means, you owe it to yourself to read this post. If you build Identity 2.0 platforms/solutions/best-of-breeds, you owe it to us to explain why he’s wrong.

I have confidence that the people designing these systems are going to create the right software defaults. The people I know firsthand in this are privacy fanatics and insistent that individuals be in control of their data. This is a huge and welcome shift from where digital ID was headed just a few years ago. We all ought to sigh in relief that these folks are on the job.

But, once these systems are in place, vendors of every sort will of course require strong ID from us. If I want to buy from, say, Amazon, they are likely to require me to register with some ID system and authenticate myself to them…far more strongly and securely than I do when I pay with a credit card in my local bookstore. Of course, I don’t have to shop at Amazon. But why won’t B&N make the same demand? And Powells? And then will come the blogs that demand I join an ID system in order to leave a comment. How long before I say, “Oh, to hell with it,” and give in? And then I’ve flipped my default. Rather than being relatively anonymous, I will assume I’m relatively identified.