Internet Identity Workshop (IIW): The past, present and future of open identity

IIW Internet Identity WorkshopGoing to IIW (Internet Identity Workshop) is like a homecoming for anyone at Janrain. In many ways it is the place of our birth. This is the chaotic place where the many diverse raw elements of the identity community swirl and come together to form the standards that allow for scientific progress, social awareness, government policy, and commercial interoperability.

While it’s always great to meet with our friends from the standards bodies such as the W3C and the IETF and work along side our counterparts from Microsoft, Google, Paypal, Salesforce and others, I enjoy the spirit of the entrepreneurs who see novel ways of leveraging academic concepts that might otherwise die on the vine. They  turn their ideas into products and successful businesses. But even that is eclipsed by the enthusiasm and passion brought by the university research groups that today see the advantages of looking at commercial viability along side public interest as a basic part of what it takes to get new standards adopted. Three cheers for cross-fertilization!

Historically one of goals of IIW was always to look at the social impact of technology and find ways to protect individual users privacy while enabling organizations to verify their identities with appropriate levels of assurance for work, play and government interactions as we have seen form the succession of standards that emerged over the past decade; OpenID, OAuth 1.0, OAuth 2.0.

Presently we see the fast and wide adoption of OAuth 2.0 as a standard. This is likely due to the trifecta of greater security, new features that allow users to cherry pick which permissions to grant, combined with an ease of implementation that harkens back to OpenID. Identity providers such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.com have all made announcements this year heralding their support for the standard. We at Janrain have been supporting OAuth 2.0 identities since its earliest drafts and primitive commercial implementations in our role as facilitators and enablers of the commercial use of identity standards to benefit consumers the organizations with which they interact.

Futures are being imagined and built that extend the new user centered view and incorporate learning from the social networking phenomenon to provide standard tools that enable users to manage all of the individual pieces of their identity. Questions are being answered on how government can learn from and leverage commercial success. Please come play with us if you are interested in learning or partnering with us as we help design the future together.