[OpenID] OpenID, P2P and decentralization

Paul Trevithick paul at socialphysics.org
Fri Mar 2 16:41:17 UTC 2007

Privacy, the "laws", etc. can't be discussed without first defining context.
Clearly there is a "public" context. And as soon as OpenID adds a more
extensible data model it could well, as Scott says, become your public
persona. Including your relationships. Relationships you have and don't mind
sharing with the world. MySpace, etc. are social laboratories that are
demonstrating vividly where the evolving boundaries are for these public
personas and relationships. 

So Kaliya, if someone learns your OpenID or email and puts it in their
network, there's nothing you can do about it. But the OpenID situation is
far better than with email, although they have the identifier, you control
what they can "do" with it. In the email case what they can "do" is send you
email. Hence spam. In the OpenID case you're in control of what they can
"do" (learn about you, interact with you, etc.) So you can't be harmed in
this public context.

The problems with OpenID occur when you try to use it in non-public
contexts. The "global-ness" of the identifier becomes its weakness because
it enables privacy-violating correlation across contexts.

Scott wrote:
> > I get really freaked out when People start talking XFN and identities of
> any
> > kind.
> I actually get really excited about this; your OpenID is your public
> persona
> on the Internet IMHO.
> > Personally I never want my OpenID identifier in ANYONE's XFN file.  This
> sort
> > of social graph portability is highly privacy invasive and goes against
> the
> > "laws" that people should have both control and consent for where PII
> goes.
> It frustrates me to no end to hear the "laws" brought up over and over
> again
> (I understand you put this in quotes which is why I did as well).  For
> those
> that don't know, the "laws" Kaliya is referring to are Kim Cameron's Laws
> of
> identity:
> http://www.identityblog.com/stories/2004/12/09/thelaws.html
> I don't think this is highly privacy invasive at all.  People make this
> information public all the time (and continue to do so) on many sites
> today.
> Connecting OpenID with XFN simply makes it easier to do what people are
> already doing.  If helping make the Internet easier for people is against
> the "law", then I personally think the laws need to be changed.
> This is already happening.  Making sure it is done with open technologies
> like OpenID and microformats ensure that we aren't locked into any one
> vendor in the space.
> > I get that many folks here are not concerned about where they end up in
> other
> > peoples social graphs and how they are ported around the web without
> their
> > knowledge.  I am.  Many people do. Many people do who will be users of
> OpenID.
> I'd like to offer a differing view point.  I don't think many people do.
> I
> think most people want the Internet to be easier.  I think most people
> want
> to participate in social networking of the kind that can be enabled with
> things like XFN.
> I'm not trying to give you grief Kaliya, just pointing out another
> viewpoint
> on the matter.
> - Scott
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