In the intro survey we had to do for this class, one of the questions asked us how many online identities we had. I answered the question with more than 20, as was probably the answer for most of us in this class. I never thought there was an issue with the number of identities I had, as on most sites my username and personal information is the same. However, after talking about this with Professor Gus, and looking into it a bit on my own, I’ve come to see that having a huge number of online identities (a number that will only grow), is a big problem as it isn’t efficient, and makes it very difficult to manage your personal data on the web.
Before I discuss my thoughts on the issue, I found two graphics that would clarify what it is I’m talking about.
This is our current model of identity management:
This is the model, in my opinion, we should move toward:
Why it’s a problem?
As more and more services move online, we create more and more online identities, making it very difficult to manage all of them – even remember all the website we have identities on. Security issues also arise when having so many online identities.
Attempts at a Solution
OpenID has attempted to solve this program, and is gaining ground among large providers (Google, Yahoo, PayPal, etc.). However, this is just a start.
While finding a solution to this problem won’t come quickly, it will be a problem that will need to be addressed in the immediate future.