[OpenID] OpenID, P2P and decentralization

Martin Atkins mart at degeneration.co.uk
Sat Mar 3 12:14:56 UTC 2007

Kaliya * wrote:
> I think it is important to think about how different communities have 
> different needs around identifiers and what happens to them.  Women have 
> a different relationship to the web an privacy.  If one is a woman one 
> can't list one'self in the Skype directory because one will get 
> SkypeStalkers. I learned this before I signed up for my account from 
> other women.   I am not saying that OpenID's will lead to this...It is 
> an example of a social phenomena experienced that when I have shared 
> with men who work in the tech industry surprises them. I am guessing 
> there are a few  perspectives that we have  not heard from when thinking 
> about this (XFN and OpenID).

I think Skype and Email are some good cases for comparison here. Both a 
Skype identity and an email address have operations on them that can be 
used to harass their owner: a Skype identity can be phoned and IMed, and 
an email address can have messages sent to it.

This is not (necessarily) true of an OpenID Identifier. It has no 
built-in operations on it except authentication. Other people knowing 
your OpenID Identifier doesn't really help them to "harass" you in any way.

Of course, one can put up contact forms and blogs and other such things 
under an OpenID identifier that *do* expose various ways to harass or 
bother the owner, but the owner of an identifier is free to choose what 
is exposed under that identifier. Most MyOpenID identifiers resolve to 
pages that just say "This is an OpenID Identifier", for example. My 
primary OpenID Identifier resolves to a page that says "I'm Martin 
Atkins and here's my blog"; it doesn't, however, give my IM contact 
details or email address, nor any other way to contact me directly.

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