A friend writes:
“Frankly, I can‚t find what is so significant here. Don‚t see it as a barrier to identity service ˆ just a question of close management of it, open policies, consumer consent, etc.”
On the surface, what’s significant is the embarassment of Microsoft.
Below the surface, what’s significant is the level of attention paid to this by consumer/privacy groups and the Federal Trade Commission — that the regulatory climate is hyper-sensitized to these issues and anyone else (e.g., Liberty Alliance) better pay attention (on which, by the way, I think the Liberty Alliance does a good job as they go out of their way to pay attention to as pointed out by the privacy objective being first on the list of objectives for the Liberty Alliance).
So you’re right — it’s not a barrier — but the “bar” will be set high for any service provider in this space with lots of scrutiny from regulators hungry for press releases about their role in protecting the public from abusers.
Wired reports on reaction to the FTC/Microsoft settlement.