He Crys Ubiquity

Craig Burton makes a highly cogent point about widespread adoption of Internet identity infrastructure. So cogent that I’m going to repeat the whole thing here:

(To a Marley regaee beat) I, I ,I cry ubiquity…

Ubiquity rules.

Identity 2.0 is a tough problem. This is because it not only requires a new architecture, but because it requires that the user rethinks how identity works.

It’s a shift from

Identity 1.0–server-based user name and password


Identity 2.0–network-based user verified credentials.

This is no small shift. It changes everything.


It will only change everything when Identity 2.0 infrastucture becomes ubiquitous. Free. A given. Like air and sunshine.

Most would-be identity systems–OpenID, Ping, Sxip, Liberty to name a few–are not well designed to become ubiquitous. They each require that you buy into their architecture to work. You must adopt their protocols and system intrinsics. Open and Simple by itself just doesn’t cut it.

What is needed is an architecture that is independent of mandated adoption.

This is part of the bueaty of Kim Cameron’s Identity Metasystem. I can’t emphasize the importance of such a design towards the objective of ubiquity.

I, I, I cry ubiquity.

I think about it this way: for ubiquitious adoption, a common layer of Internet identity infrastructure will need to meet the same requirements as IP infrastructure and Web infrastructure. Open standards, open source and commercial implementations, and open, non-mandated adoption. It works because the community self-organizes to use it and maintain it.

From a strictly identifier standpoint, that’s how IP addressing and DNS naming evolved. They solved a shared problem with rough consensus and running code. For XRI adoption to achieve ubiquity as a uniform abstract identifier layer, the same thing has to happen. Rough consensus we’ve achieved at OASIS (almost – the second committee draft of the XRI Syntax spec goes to a vote next week, with the full OASIS vote scheduled for December.) Running code is next. (More posts on that coming soon.) Rev it fast enough and the XRI rubber can finally meet the road.


About Drummond Reed

Internet entrepreneur in identity, personal data, and governance frameworks
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