A microformat approach to making identity personal
Jeremie Miller, father of Jabber, has stepped into the Identity ring and laid down a building block that may prove handy for all kinds of uses. It's called MicroID, and it provides "small, decentralized, verifiable identity" that "allows any content owner or web site to publish a simple portable identity token associated with entire pages, blocks of content, or particular pieces of data." Note: "This is for identification and ownership verfication purposes only, not authentication, authorization, communication, or any other identity related function."
One of the best ways to lay claim to your food as a kid is to lick it, make sure that your sibling or peers know it's yours. Well, MicroIDs are a bit like that in the digital world, you can stamp a MicroID on your content, sites, and individual pages. A hosted service or member site can include MicroIDs on every participants profile, comments, content, ratings, microformats, or anything. Then these can be independently verified and even aggregated into third party services (anonymously and without any loss of privacy to boot).
It's a very very simple solution from a computing, protocol, and technology perspective, it's almost too simple since many geeks almost immediately dismiss it without understanding the beauty of it's function. The most exciting aspect is that it empowers end users with absolute control while fully protecting their rights and privacy. It's also the model of decentralized systems, allowing anyone to participate and enabling services to crawl and index and provide a fully anonymous utility. All of this is critical for anything relating to Identity on the net.
It passes my sniff test as a Useful Something. But... I'm not a techie. Curious to see what the rest of ya'll think.