Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The browser as the Virtual Directory GUI

Scott Lemon muses interestingly about the possibilities of using a web browser's form-filling capabilities as a basic identity engine for personal identity data. It's an idea he says occurred to him while involved in a conversation with Mozilla's Mike Shaver at last week's Internet Identity Workshop. LID's Johannes Ernst sees (along with Lemon) that LID could play in this space, also.

Lemon does say that the current fill-in is nowhere near capable of doing what he'd like to see:

* There is no easy way to view the information that was stored, to edit these values, and to manage how they are used. I want to delete a mis-typed autofill value, or change a password.

* I am not prompted, on a per site basis, if I might want to use a previously entered value - even if the form uses a different field name. I want to associate a field named "phone" with the values that I have entered for "phone number"

* When filling in a value, I want to enter a "lie" for that particular site. Hey ... I'm just being honest that I lie to some sites!

* I want a full audit of where I have given out my information, when, what information, etc. This allows me to review what I have provided to which sites and when.

* I want to specify where the browser gets and stores the information used in form filling. I want to use LID! I want to use a LDAP directory!

* I want assistance in accumulating my digital identity over time. Bit by bit as I am asked for my identity I want it kept so that I don't have to keep typing the same info over and over again.

The personal directory engine has to be someplace, and the browser is certainly a good candidate - finally Web 2.0 can jump into bed with Identity 2.0!

There is one lingering question for me, though - where is the data (or the pointers to the data) going to reside so that I can get to it no matter where I am or what platform I'm on?

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