Another take on central identities

August 1, 2006 | Leave a comment

Further to this morning’s post comes news on Techcrunch about Zune, a portable, iPod-style entertainment device that will “show the full spectrum of audio and video content, as well as social networking”.

The social networking aspect may be important, because it implies some kind of identity management system – perhaps like the one Microsoft are including in Windows Vista? It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots with the Origami project, which is likely to also have these features, and it starts to appear that identity is quite an important aspect of Microsoft’s strategy for the near future.

And rightly so: if they can create a central system for storing a user’s identity both on a desktop PC and wherever they take their portable device, we start to enter the realm of ubiquitous identity management. The potential in the future is for a very science-fiction-like scenario where your digital identity is used in all manner of situations that go well beyond standard computing and Internet applications.

Should they manage to establish a standard for this, it’s another way to maintain a hold on the computing market for some time to come, and not necessarily a benefit to the consumer. An open standard, meanwhile, would allow consumers to choose the best identity management solution for them based on features and levels of service. Not to mention the security risks of letting Microsoft manage who I am …

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