May 12, 2011

Who Will You Be on the Internet?

Adam Chromicz's picture
Adam Chromicz
Design Engineer

As more vital information makes its way online and the maze of networks and services gets more intertwined, designing a system for proving who you are, and protecting who you are, is becoming more of an imperative. The current mess of validation scripts distributed across insecure servers and code bases has created a number of high-profile security breaches of popular services, think Gmail.

The idea of a national Internet ID has been around for at least a decade. Loathed by many and lauded by some, it’s probably inevitable, but how might it work?

The U.S. government has taken a stab at provoking the discussion.

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Adam Chromicz's picture

The article linked to shows that the US government is taking great pain to show that they won't be the ultimate architects of the solutions in this area for a variety of reasons.

I can see this unfolding as a conversation between the interested parties: industry groups and influential companies (read Facebook and Google), interest groups such as the EFF and the Chamber of Commerce (probably on opposing sides), and finally of course: Users.  Any solutions provided will have to demonstrate their usefullness to the user and ensure that the benefits such as increased security, single-signon, etc. outweigh the barriers to entry.

One can't also forget the disruptors.  Any propsed services will undergo a rigorous technical vetting from the volunteer army of security professionals and amateurs who make it their business to test services and protocols for weaknesses.  Think Anonymous (cp?) and company...