"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Identities, Associations, and Behaviors

Doc Searls has the lead article in the September Linux Journal on "Identity". This is yet another topic I have barely understood. My interest is growing though with the concept of "user centric identity".

The title of Searl's article is "Independent Identity" which points out an irony of sorts that's been on my mind. My impression is that this is not about "identity" at all. Rather it is about "association".

What use is an independent identity? I have to associate my identity with some other body's identity to accomplish anything. The crux of the "user centric identity" effort is how to limit the ramifications of that association.

The other thought that's been brewing is the relationship between capabilities and identity. We know our current approach to permissions is not sufficient to limit or even audit the results of association. On the other hand if I can reliably limit the available behaviors of my associates, and they mine, then we can mutually benefit from our association.

Identity without behavior does not lead to associations. Since we are after beneficial associations, I'm assuming we need to focus on how "identity management" ultimately translates into appropriate behaviors and reliably excludes inappropriate behaviors. A capability system requires identity management to communicate with the outside word. I also assume an identity management system requires capabilities or something equally secure to ultimately implement trustworthy associations.

I'm looking forward to Phil Windley's new book on Digital Identity to get a better handle on some of these ideas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! I hope you continue to develop that infant idea. I'll be watching.
-Bob Haugen

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.