Making Mydentity

Can we build an open and free identity infrastructure that puts customers ahead of companies accustomed to controlling them--for the good of both sides?

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Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal


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Re: Making Mydentity

Anonymous's picture

Go a step further than just asking to remove yourself from their call list -- earn $500 or a free Disney vacation by following a script, such as those found at

As a telecommuter, I have a bit of free time throughout the day to do things like file small-claims suits. And although I think we are an overly-litigious society, I feel it is my duty to do whatever I can to make life at least a little less pleasant for telemarketers and telemarketing firms.

Re: Making Mydentity

Anonymous's picture

For the record, Direct Reservations is (besides being one of the most s*****-filled companies to grace the earth), simply a travel agency, they don't have anything to do with Disney, except to try and sell you Disney travel using their quasi-legal recorded telemarketing scheme.

Possible Initiation of Dialogue

ab5tract's picture

This article is exciting for me because I had no idea that any efforts (or papers!) on this aspect of the digital future were in existence (I thought I was the only one! =). Last summer I independently developed a possible vision for internet identification, based around a concept which I dubbed 'the Overmind', which would basically be a huge server collective overseen (read: maintained) by an international organization operating on a non-governmental, a-capitalist license. The Overmind would act as a mediary between populations, organizations (including governments), and corporations by means of an open system of identity verification (with biometrics being the best bet, since the Overmind relies on there being an actual entity behind an identity). The Overmind would keep track of connections, affiliations, etc. between identities, organizations, even locations (one could almost imagine a daily 'newspaper', dynamically generated via these connections, that contains headlines about friends, families, whatever). The database containing this information is accesible only by the Overmind (any interface into Overmind's software dead-ends at Overmind; only the system, never the data, may be viewed or manipulated by humans), which accesses records for reading and/or writing without ever 'seeing' the contents. Anyway, I could go on for paragraphs (and I would love to, Doc, if you want to correspond), but this doesn't directly respond to what the questions you raised. I strongly doubt that the Liberty Protocol is worth hijacking, not only because it has been written by corporate interests, but also because it seems like too little, too soon. This Craig Burton fellow says it isn't even robust enough to handle the vision you outlined, which, while very good (and one I agree with), doesn't completely address the possibilities locked away in the future we could make for ourselves in the Information Age. I think a 'mydentification' should be coupled to the emerging promise of IPv6 and Internet2, both of which are already addressing and developing implementations for things that would be necessary for something like this to be truly effective. I definitely think 'We' are at Square Zero because, like you said, the majority of the work so far has been done by corporate interests. Thus, We the 'customers' (more like 'populace'), having not worked on the issue yet, are at Square Zero. I think the first step should be to get people excited about the possibilities an effort like this could unlock, provided We keep it on our terms, for Our interests.I would be pleased to partake in involved discussion on this topic. Anyone interested should contact me at


John Haltiwang3r

Re: Making Mydentity

Anonymous's picture

I have always been confused by the complexity of security solutions. There is no complexity at the state DMV. There is none at the IRS. Both of those organization know who I am.

There is also none at Macy's. They know who I am. Why is my digitial ID complex?

It seems I can create any name I want, have a (possibly paid for) service verify that I am that Identity and then use the

identity with others. Others either trust the verification service or not. If they don't trust the verification service, they don't trust my ID.

Once I have my ID, appending information to it is conceptually simple as well as changing information. Deciding to share some of it is also simple. All of this has been done for the past 100 years or so. Why is this so complicated? Aren't we simply automating existing mechanisms? Shouldn't we be?

Are there any new concepts in this?

If the information on a specific user is not controlled by that user, then who would trust the control to someone else?

There are more interesting issues here also. If I put information into my description and "share" it with Macy's, how

does Macy's verify it -- if indeed, they need to. For instance,

I tell them I make $250,000 per year and want a credit card.

Were I Macy's, I would want some assurance the information is correct. Again, here there are simple solutions to these problems and very complicated "delegation and federated methods" for solving the same problem.

I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who can

describe to me why the definition of a "network identity" should be complex.

Ed Bradford


Re: Making Mydentity

Anonymous's picture

slightly off topic... but FYI:
If you request your name taken off their distribution/mailing/calling list, they are required to do it. This carries over from spam email to telemarketing.
So take 2 seconds before you hang up, interrupt the persona by asking them to take you off their phone list.

Re: Making Mydentity

Anonymous's picture

Good luck interrupting them, direct reservations doesn't use telemarketers, they use computers, you can't interrupt a recording to ask it questions. And even if you take the time to write down their phone number, call them, and ask to be put on their do-not-call list, you will be ignored.

Re: Making Mydentity

Anonymous's picture

Is this true in all states?

Re: Making Mydentity

Anonymous's picture


In the past fe days I have been looking for an Identity management solution. I looked at Liberty and others. It looks like the whole scenario is woefully inadequate. What you really need is a federated system. Perhaps on the basis of something you suggest p2p client would be good. Right now most application developers are pusing out solutions without really considering identity management. How many passwords do you have to remember in a day. Rule of thumb is easch new password is a seprate identity. The other extream is a barcode at the back of our necks and universal identity :-)