Economist: Identity rules

The Economist reports on the release of specifications this week by the Liberty Alliance.

Allowing for broad input, however, does not guarantee success. On the contrary, reaching agreement is likely to be harder. The first version of Liberty’s specification deals only with single sign-on, not with the more controversial exchange of user information, such as payment details and buying preferences. What is more, Microsoft and IBM, which has also decided to stay out of the consortium for now, may yet try to launch a competing standard.

On top of this, consumers might not bite. So far, they are not very enthusiastic about identity services. Most register with websites only because they have to, and do not trust technology firms to prevent misuse of personal information. Promoters of identity services will probably have to face the fact that many, if not most, consumers will prefer to stay anonymous˜just as they can in the offline world.

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