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Translucent Databases

Jon Udell comments on some thinking that Peter Wayner has been doing re: applying the principles of translucent databases to ecommerce sites — and reaches an interesting conclusion.

Still, Amazon obviously has to store your name somewhere, plus your credit card number and street address, in order to do the e-commerce dance, right? Well, actually, no, it does not need to store those data, it needs your permission to use them — and a means to access them. This was, of course, the Hailstorm vision. Microsoft floated that trial balloon a couple of years ago, and it got shot down. It’s clear now that Microsoft won’t own the identity business, and that identity systems will federate. But we ought not forget that at the core of Hailstorm is an idea that is correct, necessary, and inevitable. Services don’t need to store your data, they need to use it with your permission. Hailstorm, as originally conceived, was a translucent database — and a darned good idea.

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