I had the excellent pleasure of someone not only having read my post on life leaks but then having them point out that I was contradicting myself at the very moment we were discussing it – it was such a good point that I didn’t even mind not having made it myself!!

We were talking about the fact that we plan to use OpenID as the login option on the platform being built for the Virtual Town Hall – and the fact that this will actually encourage life leak rather than helping control it. Good point!! But then I thought about it some more….

Personal Identity Management is exactly what it says – personal. It is your own responsibility and something which everyone will want to manage differently. OpenID is a tool for bringing your identities together into a single login which you can then control far more easily (just one password change and not dozens when you lose your laptop) but it doesn’t allow for much subtlety as yet as it really only deals with the registration part of things – it doesn’t allow you to present different part of your core data to different people and places which is what you really need to avoid the life leak problem.

Is this a reason not to use it? Absolutely not – it is an excellent development and a natural step in the evolution of proper identity management. But we should be very careful to make sure that people are away of the implications of using such a system and I think it throws more responsibility on us as architects of a new system to help people understand those implications.