FreedomBox / Project Danube at the European Identity Conference

I was invited to speak at the European Identity Conference (EIC) in Munich, at a workshop about “Life Management Platforms” together with Drummond Reed of Connect.Me and Phil Windley of Kynetx. Life Management Platforms are services that help you store and manage your personal data online, and provide useful services based on this personal data. This idea is closely related to concepts such as Identity Providers, Personal Data Stores, or Personal Clouds.

During the workshop, I mentioned that a growing number of grassroots projects are working on completely distributed protocols for social networking and the sharing of personal data. I talked about the FreedomBox project, and showed a Guruplug to a few people throughout the conference. I suggested that the FreedomBox could play the role of what during the conference was referred to as a Life Management Platform. Although such grassroots projects are typically not a major focus of conferences like EIC, it did capture people’s attention and imagination.

The conference is clearly of a very corporate nature, mostly trying to explore the impact of identity and cloud technologies on business. However, there was actually a surprising amount of talk about the importance of decentralization. During the opening, one keynote speaker went as far as stating that “client/server” was really just a nicer term for “slave/master”.

Some of the concepts that received significant attention during the conference were:

  • Life Management Platforms: Such platforms are a superset of Personal Data Stores and will not just store personal data, but also provide individuals with useful services based on it, enabled through mechanisms such as “controlled push” and “informed pull”.
  • API Economy: With the rise of cloud computing, the importance of API-based communication between service providers will also increase.
    Several workshops about Identity and Security in cloud computing were held. It was mentioned that in the future, identity in the cloud will likely be based either on a monolithic identity provider holding all personal data, or on the idea of an Identity-Management-As-A-Service (IdMAAS) system that can assemble claims from different sources.
  • Privacy-By-Design and Minimal Disclosure Technologies were also discussed, for example their possible application on smartcards or by governmental ID programmes in Australia, New Zealand, or by the European STORK interoperability project.
  • Workshops on Key Internet Identity Protocols gave overviews of the current status of OpenID Connect, OAuth 2.0 and the idea of an Account Chooser, i.e. a standardized UI for web browsers.
  • A session about Doc Searls’ book The Intention Economy explored how this new paradigm will unfold and what underlying infrastructure and business models it will require. PDEC Startup Circle member Connect.me announced the launch of the Respect Network and its Founding Vendor’s Program, which is aimed at taking the first step toward realizing the vision of the Intention Economy.

Thanks to KuppingerCole for the invitation, and congratulations to OpenID Connect for the award.

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