Internet Identity Workshop 2007: Day Three


Tuesday dinner at the Monte
Carlo in Mountain View
Tuesday dinner at the Monte Carlo in Mountain View
(click to enlarge)

If you're interested in following blogs about IIW2007, you can look for the iiw2007 tag on Technorati.

First thing this morning (after picking up bagels) I went to a presentation on Sxipper, Sxip Identity's login and form filling plug-in for Firefox. I've been using Sxipper since the last IIW and have come to rely on it.

When I first started using it, it had some usability problems (at least for me) so I stopped using it for a while. When I switched to Firefox 2.0, however, with automatic plug-in updates, I found that it had radically improved and it very usable. When I was doing my demo for WWW2007 last week I turned it off since I didn't want it popping up during the demo and I found that I missed it enough to notice it was gone and turned it back on.

Sxip uses the local password store (inside Firefox) to store your data. What is shared are the form maps. When you go to a form that's already been mapped by something else the map is pulled down and the form is filled from your local store. If you find a form that hasn't been mapped, you have the opportunity to map it for your (and other's) future use.

Like I said, I've come to rely on it. It's especially useful on sites where I have more than one log in because it shows me the choices and I select which login I want to use. One click and I'm in, with whatever persona I'm interested in using.

Bryan and Devlin hatch a
plan
Bryan and Devlin hatch a plan
(click to enlarge)

Devlin, Bryant, and I did a session on reputation and our framework. I used a portion of my slides from WWW2007. Devlin gave a demo of the new system which includes tags for context semantics. The new system is language-based rather than having a form-based interface to a rules engine. Here's a PDF of our paper describing our reputation framework. This doesn't discuss the OpenID reputation work---that hasn't been written yet.

The report-out on the OSIS Interop session from yesterday happened at noon over lunch. Here are the statistics of participating components and features:

  • five Information Card selectors
  • eleven relying parties
  • seven identity providers
  • four token types
  • two authentication mechanism

The bottom line was that for the most part, these systems all worked well together. There were a few problems and they were documented for more work. The results are documented on the wiki (at least they will be and I'll link to them as soon as they're up).

Paul describes Higgins in less than seven minutes
Paul describes Higgins in less than seven minutes
(click to enlarge)

The last session I attended today was Paul Trevethick on "Understanding Higgins in Seven Minutes." The slides are one's that Paul uses to talk to people outside the user-centric identity community. Here are some things he tells them:

  • Maximal decentralization of identity information leads to maximal security and privacy
  • use of local identifiers (pseudonyms) where possible
  • Linking across context allows us to "have our cake and eat it too" in the sense of privacy, security, and convenience.

He goes through the different kinds of identity information a person has to illustrate that we can't solve the problem by creating "one big silo."

Higgins defines "i-cards," a generalization of Microsoft's Information Card concept. For example, a relationship card might aggregate attributes with different authoritative asserters. They also define an "identity agent." A card selector is an example of an identity agent, but the concept goes further. The agent projects and protects identity attributes.

An interoperability framework allows the various protocols, tokens, attribute schemas, and data access methods to come together in a way that is abstracted for the user. Higgins provides a common data model for all of these things and then defines plug-ins for mapping various systems into the common data model. The Higgins data model allows linking from one context to another (i.e. me in my family, in Second Life, in the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, etc.) The action is all in the links.

Higgins is the "Linux of identity" or a kind of glue.

The closing
The closing
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The closing was fun with the usual reporting out, chatter, thank-yous and so on. Lisa Heft, a friend of Kaliya's who facilitates open space events had created a group poem from things people said to her yesterday when she talked to them. She had them say their own words and interspersed her words between then. There were over twenty people and it turned out pretty well. I was impressed.

Overall, another great IIW. There was a lot of energy. The barista said "These folks drink a lot of coffee! I feel responsible for some of the chatter I heard." I don't know which is cause and which is effect, but there was a lot of activity. I liked it.