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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monday, March 08, 2010

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European Identity Conference 2010

Less than two months to go until the 4th annual European Identity Conference, and registration is now open! Once again, as last year, I'll be delivering an opening keynote as well as hosting two session tracks.

On Tuesday (5/4/10), I'll keynote on "Convergence: Better Control, Lower Cost". Since it's the keynote between a break and Kim Cameron, I should at least get those who want to come early to get a good seat for Kim!

On Wednesday (5/5/10), I'll continue the "convergence" theme with a track called "Value Through Convergence - Consolidate for Better Value, Efficiency and Security".This will feature a conversation with Martin Kuppinger ("5 Quick-Wins to Leverage your Existing Identity Infrastructure through Convergence"), a conversation with Kim Cameron ("Converging User-centric & Enterprise-centric IDs") and two panel discussions: "Converging Data Governance and Access Governance," and "Establishing an Advanced Level of Enterprise Identity Maturity."

Then, on Thursday (5/6/10) I'll tackle "Cloud Platforms & Data Portability". This track will feature an intro talk ("Data Statelessness and the Continuum of Individuals' Data Portability on the Web") by XMLgrrl herself, Eve Maler. We'll follow this up with two great panels: "Social Data Portability," and "Business/Cloud portability."

There'll be other great sessions, also - there always are. Plus, the Deutsches Museum in Munich is a fabulous venue. I hope to see you there.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

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IIW spring 2010

Time to register for the spring Internet Identity Workshop. Do it now.


Friday, January 22, 2010

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Which ox are you goring?

ProjectVRM's Joe Andrieu has a long, but not necessarily rambling, post today buttressing his (and the project's) stand on data sharing.

He makes some great points, such as that many people confuse privacy with secrecy. And that transactional data is owned by all parties to the transaction separately and mutually. He totally misses some points, such as confounding Digital Rights Management with meat space copyrights.

But where he really got me was right near the very end of his screed where he says:

"Because the fact is, we want to share information. We want Google to know what we are searching for. We want Orbitz to know where we want to fly. We want to know the kind of car we are looking for.
We just don’t want that information to be abused. We don’t want to be spammed, telemarketed, and adverblasted to death."

But the reality is that we will be "spammed," telemarketed and adverblasted whether or not the party doing the marketing knows what we want or not. Advertising should be about letting me know the possibilities that might interest me. And the only way that can happen is if the advertiser knows my likes and dislikes, wants and needs. Isn't that the premise of VRM, that we (the users) tell the vendors what we want and they then compete to fill our need? How can they do that without telling us of their offers, and isn't that advertising? Targeted advertising, targeted directly at the person(s) who are looking to buy.

Rework the post, Joe. There are too many good points to be spoiled by such a bad ending.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

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Google, OpenID and Chris Messina

Today's announcement that Chris Messina is joining Google is certainly good for Chris, probably good for Google - but what about the openID Foundation?

As of today, Google has 3 members of the Board of Directors, their corporate rep (Eric Sachs), and "community" reps Messina and Joseph Smarr. That's 3 out of the 19 board members.

I should note that Yahoo has two members, a corporate one (Raj Mata) and a community one (Allen Tom), as does Microsoft (Mike Jones and Dick Hardt).

I do think that any corporate member should be prohibited from also having employees hold community seats. Not that I have any indications that messrs. Messina, Smarr, Hardt or Tom would vote against their own principles, but people's principles are influenced by those of the culture in which the perform their daily employment tasks.

Over and above that consideration, though, should be the desire to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Maybe it's time the Foundation adopted a rule prohibiting such perceived conflict.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

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Burtner or Garton?

Huge news this morning as it was announced that Gartner had purchased the Burton Group in a straight cash transaction (reportedly $56 million). WTF?

These are groups addressing two different constituencies. As the Wall Street Journal reported: "Gartner has typically focused on advising companies' chief information officers and senior IT executives, while Burton has built its business by advising 'front-line IT professionals,' said Gartner Chief Executive Gene Hall."

Even though I don't always see eye-to-eye with the Burton Analysts, I consideer them to be the finest group of minds available on IdM questions. Bob Blakley, Gerry Gebel, Ian Glazer, Kevin Kampman, Lori Rowland, and Mark Diodati are an Identity brain trust , almost a national treasure. Add in the brilliant minds of Phil Shacter, Dan Blum and - of course - Jamie Lewis and you have an irreplaceable resource.

Gartner also has some good minds in IdM, just not as many. I could easily sit and chat with Earl Perkins all day, for example. But Gartner's IdM practice isn't something I want to listen to. As I said last year, about Gartner's IdM Summit: "It isn’t a conference that you, the identity management expert, should go to – at least not alone. This is really geared more to the line-of-business (LOB) manager who needs to get a handle on this 'identity stuff'.” And Perkins agreed with me.

This acquisition could put Gartner in the forefront of IdM thinking, or end up with all of Burton's heavy hitters on the back burner. Time will tell.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

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God's personas

I was contemplating the Christmas season and what it means to those of a religious bent when it occurred to me that the idea of “persona” – different facets of a single identity – is thousands of years older than our digital world.

A few years ago I defined persona as “an aspect of identity in a specific situation: office persona, parenting persona and so on. “ Since then, I’ve refined it to be a collection of related attribute-value pairs, a subset of all of the attributes that make up an entity’s identity.

Over 1500 years ago, Roman Catholicism’s St. Patrick was attempting to convert Ireland’s Druids to Roman Catholicism. One tool he used was the shamrock, a sacred plant to the Druids. Patrick illustrated the doctrine of the Holy Trinity (one God, three aspects: the father, the son and the holy spirit) by noting that the plant has three leaves but only one stem. Today we could say that the entity, God, has three personae: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each persona emphasizes a particular set of God’s attributes yet each persona is still the entity, God.

That led me to take another look at the God of the Old Testament – God the Father in the Christian tradition. But also Yahweh to the Jews and Allah to the Muslims. Each of these is merely a persona of the entity God with a mildly differing set of attributes interpreted by those humans known, collectively, as prophets. One God, multiple personae.

But, in looking farther afield, we find it isn’t only the near-Eastern monotheistic religions which offer us a God-entity with multiple personae. Hinduism is also based on this concept. As Hindu Wisdom ( puts it:

Hinduism is often labeled as a religion of 330 million gods. This misunderstanding arises when people fail to grasp the symbolism of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus worship the nameless and formless Supreme Reality (Bramh) by various names and forms. These different aspects of one reality are symbolized by the many gods and goddesses of Hinduism. For example, Brahma (not to be confused with the over-arching Bramh) is that reality in its role as creator of the universe; in Vishnu it is seen as the preserver and the upholder of the universe; and Shiva is that same reality viewed as the principle of transcendence which will one day 'destroy' the universe. These are the Trimurti, the ' three forms,' and they are not so much different gods as different ways of looking at the same God. Each emphasizes a particular aspect or function of the one reality. The forms are many, the reality is one. It is the same with all the gods and goddesses: they are not rivals but aspects of a single principle. Hindus have represented God in innumerable forms. Each is but a symbol that points to something beyond; and as none exhausts God's actual nature, the entire array is needed to complete the picture of God's aspects and manifestations. It has been said that images are to the Hindu worshipper what diagrams are to the geometrician.

Explaining the concept of persona is never easy, but at least this might give you an edge with the practicing religious folks in your organization.

[reprinted from Network World]


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