Identity Management is becoming an important issue. Doc Searls writes about it in Linux Journal and asks if we can “build an open and free identity infrastructure that puts customers ahead of companies accustomed to controlling them–for the good of both sides?”
Instead of waiting for Disney to tell us they’re offering vacation cruise deals to consumers of animated movie DVDs, we let Disney and other potential providers know that we’re in the market for a cruise in the Caribbean this coming October. Also, we don’t want any more spam phone calls or e-mails that guess about what we, as customers, might want. Also, we’d welcome discounts with some of our partners, such as Starbucks, Amazon and the local toy store in our home town.
What this requires is something we don’t have right now: a new identity infrastructure–one provided by open APIs, protocols and other standards that serve no agenda other than to enable useful dealings between buyers and sellers of products and services. Like the Web and e-mail infrastructure that are already part of the Net, this new infrastructure would be a full-fledged service on the Net. And it won’t become that unless it’s something nobody owns, everybody can use and anybody can improve. Again, like the Web, e-mail and the Net itself.
What we’ll need as customers is what I call a mydentity.