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September 12, 2005 » 2:24 pm

DataTao

Andy Dale and the good folks at ooTao have been quietly driving the development of data sharing technologies based on XDI. This is one of the candidate Identity Commons technologies for permission-based sharing and synchronization of identity-related information.    (JSF)

What does this mean? Most of us have personal information stored all over the Internet, with no control over who can access it and what they are allowed to do with it. The privacy implications are obvious, but issues of control go beyond privacy. I may want 15 different organizations to have access to my email address, but I don’t want to have to contact each of those organizations separately every time my email address changes.    (JSG)

The knee-jerk reaction to the latter problem has been to create centralized repositories of identity data, and to persuade people to store all their data there. That approach has no long-term future.    (JSH)

We need a distributed system that gives individuals granular control over their digital identities. That’s the long-term vision of Identity Commons, and the technologies that will make this all possible are slowly coming into fruition.    (JSI)

Andy recently announced plans for DataTao, an “interoperable data hub for user controlled data.” As a service, I think DataTao will be tremendously compelling. A natural first application will be a distributed Plaxo-killer. You’ll be able to keep your contact information wherever it already is — even across multiple sites — and to grant permission to people to synchronize with that data. In other words, Andy or anyone else will be able to get my latest contact information without having to subscribe to some centralized repository, assuming I’ve given them permission. More importantly, I can take that permission away.    (JSJ)

On a technical level, what’s interesting about ooTao’s announcement is that the service is not wed to i-names. It will work with a variety of identity protocols, from OpenID to LID. On the other hand, the system will use XDI. I’ve expressed concerns, both privately and publically, over whether XDI is the best architecture for the kind of data sharing we need. The proof will be in the pudding; it will be great to see a real service built on top of XDI in action.    (JSK)

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