Tom Brown: Identity as if People Mattered

Tom presented at the first of the revived EFF-Austin monthly meetings, June 1st at the Flying Saucer. He presented an overview of Internet identity and authentication issues, including some history, going back to Microsoft’s Passport and the .net initiative called Hailstorm, which were about authentication and storing an individual’s information – and which were ultimately not broadly adopted. Tom compared Facebook Connect to Passport/Hailstorm – they’re proprietary services, and they’re efficient, but not resilient. He talked about the evolution of a commons-based approach (Identity Commons) via the Internet Identity Workshop, and Kaliya Hamlin’s concept of user-centric identity – which is about the “Freedom to be who you want to be online – the right to anonymity and pseudonymity,” methods for identify validation and sharing the information you specifically want to share (vs having the data taken from you), and having an ability to control and curate the information about you that appears online. He also brought up the important question of ownership of a personal identifier – who can you trust? How do we avoid being locked into a (commercial) provider of identity/authentication services (like Facebook). A couple of important concepts here: Federation, which is the OpenID model, and delegation, which is the model used in OAuth (used by Twitter) and Facebook Connect. Tom talked about the question whether User-Centric identity is dead. One next step, the OpenID Connect project, isn’t user-centric, but the National Institute for Standards and Technology, there’s a new National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace that is intended to be designed based on a user-centric federation model. (Tom’s slides are at http://effaustin-identity.heroku.com/#1.

June 1 Meeting: What’s up with the Internet Identity Movement?

Identity as if PEOPLE mattered…

Why should you care about the Internet Identity Movement? What makes it a BIG DEAL? How identity is handled online has always been a huge issue, and is a big issue for your privacy and online experience.

Tom Brown at IIW
Tom Brown at IIW. Photo by ValeskaUX

Back by popular demand! EFF-Austin’s resuming monthly public meetings on Internet and cyber liberties topics of interest.

Our first event is June 1st, 7PM at the Flying Saucer, 815 W 47th St at the Triangle. Free RSVP here.

Tom Brown
Tom Brown

Our very special guest speaker is coder extraordinaire Tom Brown, just returned from Internet Identity Workshop #12

The IIW is an open space workshop focused on user-centric digital identity. Attendees at IIW12 included many more people traveling from overseas and representation from the U.S. government with the emerging NSTIC initiative. We will have a conversation about the good, bad and ugly of NSTIC and the relationship and progress of protocols supporting user-centric identity including OpenID, OAuth and OStatus and derivatives like OpenID Connect and OAuth 2.0.

Bio: Tom Brown is an open source software developer who can be found on github.com as herestomwiththeweather. Tom has added OpenID, OAuth and OpenTransact to popular open source ruby projects and has attended most of the identity workshops since IIW7. Tom co-founded SuperBorrowNet, Inc. and maintains the oscurrency project in use by the Austin Time Exchange, the Bay Area Community exchange and emerging community exchanges in Oregon, Canada and Ireland.

TXGov2.0Camp: Making Transparency Work

Texas Government 2.0 Camp

Collaborative Conference to Explore Open Government Best Practices

AUSTIN, Texas, January 10, 2011 – In collaboration with local and state government officials, advocacy groups and private industry, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and EFF-Austin will present Texas Government 2.0 Camp (TXGov2.0Camp): Making Transparency Work on Jan 28 and 29 at the Austin Community College Eastview Campus.

TXGov2.0Camp will bring together leading thinkers from all levels of government, academia, media and industry to explore the best ways to make open government in Texas work for everyone.

Organized in part by LBJ School of Public Affairs graduate students, this conference will serve as an extension of a previously existing LBJ School policy research project on state finance and online transparency.

The policy research project was designed to analyze what is and should be available online regarding state government finances in the United States,” said Sherri Greenberg, LBJ School lecturer, former Texas state representative, and faculty sponsor for the project. “This conference offers an excellent opportunity for my students to interact with the people on the ground on this issue, to be involved directly with advocates, government officials and members of the media as they champion and work towards a mutual goal of a transparent government.”

The first day of the conference will include a student panel where members of the state finance and online transparency course will present their research. Evan Smith, CEO and Editor-in-Chief for the Texas Tribune, will deliver the keynote address from 1 to 2 p.m.

The first afternoon panel, titled Transparency and Open Government, will include Dustin Haisler, Director of Government Innovation for Spigit and Jon Lee of the Texas Department of Information Resources. The second panel, titled Social Media and Government, will feature Julia Gregory and Lydia Saldana of Texas Parks and Wildlife and Jon Lebowsky of Plutopia Productions.

The second day of the Texas Government 2.0 Camp will be an “unconference” event building on the presentations and panels from the day before. Where a conference is a formally structured event with an agenda set in advance, an unconference is a more loosely structured event where the participants determine the agenda collaboratively.  Anyone can volunteer to lead a session on any relevant topic. Examples of sessions already suggested are the implications of Wikileaks, open Internet, government use of technology and community technology.

Tickets are $10, which covers lunch on the first day, and can be purchased online at http://txgov20.org/. Wireless Internet will be available. For those following the event or twitter or those who would like to tweet about the event, the hash tag for the event is #TxGov20.

EFF-Austin advocates establishment and protection of digital rights and defense of the wealth of digital information, innovation, and technology. EFF-Austin also promotes the right of all citizens to communicate and share information without unreasonable constraint as well as the fundamental right to explore, tinker, create, and innovate along the frontier of emerging technologies.

For more information on the event, including an agenda and registration information, please visit: http://txgov20.org/