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Identity 2.0 and Personal Digital Archives

November 18th, 2005 · 4 Comments · Personal Digital Archives, Web 2.0

I attended an informative Van2 presentation on Sxore last night. Sxore is an identity and reputation management tool for blogs that is being developed by the local (Vancouver) Identity 2.0 firm Sxip. My main interest was actually in the Sxip platform that Sxore is built on because Identity 2.0 technology will be an important component of a comprehensive personal digital archives solution.

Identity 2.0 is a term that is being used to describe the next-generation of identity and reputation management that is user-centric and user-controlled rather than the currently de-centralized model where the end-user has a seperate, completely un-related relationship with every website or online service that we use. This includes the problem of having to maintain multiple usernames and passwords and having to fill out profiles and personal information from scratch every time you join a new website or request a new service. The holy grail of Identity 2.0 is a single sign-on, single user profile for the entire digital realm.

On top of that, Identity 2.0 seeks to leverage the reputation that you might have with one provider (e.g. Ebay’s credibility rating) to use in other online relationships using a ‘network of trust’. Of course, this concept can be used to seperate legimate online users from those darn spammers, which is where Sxip’s Sxore comes in.

What interests me in particular about the Sxip architecture is that it aims to put the control over the user’s online identity and personas in the hands of the individual rather than any one company, organization or government. This is important from the perspective of privacy and control. As a user I would be able to determine which website or service provider gets to see my personal information and how much they get to see. I can also create multiple personas to seperate the different roles we play online.

Most importantly, from my perspective as a digital archivist, I have the option to store and control this information where I like, using either a trusted host of my choosing (a ‘Homesite’) or even on my own computer (a ‘Personal Homesite’). I don’t like having my personal information scattered all over cyberspace where there are constantly reports of identity thefts, including breaches of security at government servers, banks, credit bureaus and credit card companies (all of these in the past year alone here in Canada!!!). I would rather take my chances with storing my identity profiles on a ‘Personal Homesite’ as part of my own personal digital archives solution that I’ve designed to meet basic security and business continuity requirements.

Of course, for any one identity architecture and solution to succeed it will require mass adoption and end-user trust (remember Microsoft Passport?). It will be some time before a user-centric, single sign-on solution is available for all online interactions across the digital realm (online shopping, banking, government services, etc). The early adopters will be Web 2.0 savy companies and websites that already subscribe to the ethos and benefits of open systems and open data.

There are some other interesting initiatives in this domain including Lightweight ID, the Liberty Alliance, and the Identity Commons.

I personally like the user-centric vision and comprehensive architecture of the Sxip approach, which includes third-party authentication. I am also encouraged by their recent collaboration with IETF. I am looking forward to the upcoming release of the Sxip 2.0 protocol and tools so that I can prototype a personal digital archives interface.

To learn more about the concepts and goals of Identity 2.0 I highly recommend the streaming video of Dick Hardt’s fast-moving OSCON2005 presentation.

The Laws of Identity are also an excellent read. They establish the basic principles that ‘define a unifying identity metasystem that can offer the Internet the identity layer it so obviously requires.’ These help to establish a basic roadmap for the future of digital identity management that goes beyond a particular standard, technology or product. This is important as I suspect the road to Identity 2.0 nirvana (single sign-on for the entire digital realm, personal control over digital identity) might still have some twists and curves ahead.

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 weston // Dec 7, 2005 at 11:47 am

    Hello Peter

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Would you like to particpate in our alpha release? We want to get feedback from a small group of invited users before we launch a proper public beta. Let me know …

  • 2 Peter Van Garderen // Dec 8, 2005 at 10:59 am

    I am going to pass on the alpha release testing of Sxore as I am interested mainly in the release of version 2 of the Sxip architecture to test the deployment of personal homesites.

    Since my research is an add-on to my consulting work I have to be very resourceful with my time. Over the next few months I will be putting my development/testing focus on creating an archives access system prototype.

    I will then turn my attention to personal digital archives systems and hope that a beta or production release of Sxip v.2 will be available at that time.

    Good luck with the Sxor alpha, though. I will be keeping an eye out for the stable release of the WordPress plug-in.

  • 3 weston // Apr 21, 2006 at 9:20 am

    The sxore WordPress plugin is a lot more stable now, you may want to give it a second look. I just received a notification from archivemati that there was a new comment here but it was spam about some pill!

  • 4 Domain regisztráció // Jan 8, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Can this plugin be fully translated, I mean, is it supported a bit? I am interested in East-European languages.