Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More self-issued stuff

Jeff Bohren jumps into the discussion but unfortunately misses the target and crashes badly.

He says: "First party claims such as personal info can and should be made directly by the consumer who owns them. Information Cards provide a convenient way to do that. I see no compelling business case for a third party to make first party claims in a B2C scenario." But there is a definite compelling reason - we rarely believe (or, at least, we shouldn't believe) without verification the claims that a stranger makes to us. Just ask any single woman who goes to a bar on a Saturday night! The third party, the trusted third party, provides validation for the claims. The claims are offered by the first party, directed by the first party and even initiated by the first party, but without the validation of the third party they are completely worthless.

He goes on to note: "The mistake is saying an identity oracle can divulge whether your credit is good enough for the purposes of the transaction without divulging your credit score itself. I don’t believe that is possible in practice. If you say 'Jeff’s credit score is as good as %90 of the people who have not defaulted on a loan of that amount', then you have for practical purposes divulged Jeff’s credit score. " Um, no, you haven't. Any more than the Oracle agreeing that you are of legal age to purchase alcohol could be said to 'divulge' your age. "Over 21" covers a whole lot of ground. A validation that I am of legal age to buy says nothing about whether I'm of legal age to claim Social Security benefits, far less is it an indicator of my actual age. For the credit score, the RP decides what score is acceptable and asks the Oracle if the first party's score meets that criteria. No numbers are divulged, but the transaction can proceed.

In general, we need to think of the Identity Oracle as a binary soothsayer - only yes or no answers are forthcoming.

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