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Internet Identity Workshop – Making Identity Open!

By Gina Rau | Posted on October 25, 2011

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This post is written by Allen Tom (@atom), Janrain Identity Architect. Allen recently joined the Janrain team and also serves as OpenID Foundation Director.

Last week, Team Janrain headed to Mountain View, CA to define and build the next generation of Internet Identity with industry leaders at the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW). Over the years, IIW has been the premiere event where technologists from around the web roll up their sleeves to work on making Internet Identity portable, interoperable, and secure.

OpenID Connect – Identity for OAuth 2.0

One of the biggest topics at IIW was OpenID Connect, which is the standard identity interface for OAuth 2.0. OpenID Connect standardizes on the the same wildly successful design pattern that has been deployed by top Identity Providers including Facebook and Twitter. Not only is OpenID Connect far easier to implement relative to previous versions of OpenID, it enables powerful new use cases for attribute brokering and data sharing.

IIW Group

Attribute Brokering – Tearing Down the Data Silos

OpenID Connect enables Attribute Brokering, in which claims and attributes about a user can be aggregated from multiple sources, independently of the user’s identity provider. Google’s Eric Sachs gave a fascinating talk explaining how mobile carriers can become attribute providers by asserting (with user consent) a user’s verified postal address and billing information when a user logs into a website using their OpenID Connect enabled Google Account.

User profile data which was previously trapped within data silos owned by the large Identity Providers can be unlocked and asserted by independent attribute providers, all keyed off of a single OpenID Connect account. User profile data can be spread across many different Attribute Providers, giving users more control over their privacy, while enabling web sites to build richer, more personalized experiences.

Backplane – Enabling Plug and Play Web Widgets


Many websites embed 3rd party javascript widgets that implement social functionality including commenting, sharing, voting, and chatting. Because widgets are hosted on different domains than the sites that embed them, it’s been challenging for widget developers to synchronize data between widgets and the sites that embed them. Backplane is a standard interface that solves this problem, enabling widgets to communicate securely with each other and with the site that embeds them.

Backplane was originally proposed by Echo as a way to enable websites to embed interoperable, real time, social widgets from different vendors, allowing apps to be decoupled from the user’s identity provider. Last week around IIW, Janrain’s Johnny Bufu and Echo’s Chris Saad, along with engineers from widget developers including Livefyre, Badgeville, Crowdfactory, and Envolve, kicked off a series of sessions to finalize Backplane 2.0. We hope to see Backplane power a new widget ecosystem, in which site owners can easy deploy the best of breed widgets by dragging and dropping them onto their site.

Next Up – Open Identity Attribute Exchange Summit

As with the rest of the Internet, the future of Internet Identity is evolving quickly. Janrain will be participating at the Open Identity Attribute Exchange Summit on December 9th and 10th in Washington, D.C. Join us in exploring the developing business models and user experience of attribute provider networks.

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Gina Rau

Gina Rau

Marketing Communications Manager

With almost 20 years of marketing success, Gina is a brand engagement specialist who seeks out creative solutions for every marketing challenge. Her work has delivered results for leading brands like Whole Foods, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, JCPenney, Tillamook Creamery and more. At Janrain, she leads the charge to make sure our company, products and services shine through our messaging and content.

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