Identity & Privacy

On the heels of the privacy workshop in Washington this past Monday (which regrettably I was unable to attend) and Burton Group’s Catalyst 09 event in San Diego two weeks ago where Privacy was a featured track one day, I want to mention some important things going on in the identity industry and point out some thought-provoking, privacy-related blog posts I recently discovered.

First, be sure to download the new whitepaper published jointly by the Information Card Foundation and OpenID Foundation titled “Open Trust Frameworks for Open Government: Enabling Citizen Involvement through Open Identity Technologies.” This gives a good overview on both OpenID and Information Cards and how these open identity technologies can be used to help foster President Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.

Another thought-provoking read is this post by Ian Glazer at Burton Group who blogs about his Facebook privacy experiment as it relates to 3rd party applications. Admittedly, it didn’t take long for the social butterfly in me to be drawn to Facebook’s allure and how easy (and fun!) it is to connect (and re-connect) with friends, colleagues, and family. Ian points out some real concerns we all should probably consider before taking that “Which 80s movie most resembles your life” quiz.

And while on the social networking subject, here’s something Robin Wilton with the Future Identity discussed during a privacy session at Catalyst which he also points out on his blog:

There’s no such thing as “social networking”. There’s “social interaction” and there’s “networking”. If you assume that both operate by the same rules (regardless of how tempting appearances may make that assumption) you’re fooling yourself. Admittedly, that’s just what a lot of us are doing these days – but we don’t yet know what the implications of that mass consensual delusion are.

In the identity world, consumers are helping blur the privacy lines by self publishing everything from what they are doing at the moment to a list of their “Top 25 Friends” on their social networking site du jour without realizing some of the privacy and personal safety ramifications.

Robin’s presentation was based on how to have a productive multi-stakeholder discussion on privacy and something that really resonated with me is this concept that privacy isn’t about data or secrecy; it’s about people and their personal dignity.  A very logical, common sense approach but we know putting it in action in way that satisfies all the stakeholders (legal, IT, marketing, consumers, businesses,etc.) can be difficult.  If you ever have the chance to hear Robin speak, I highly recommend that you attend.  In the meantime, check out a recent blog post he wrote on social networking and privacy.

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