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IBM to Open Source Novel Identity Protection Software 40

Posted by Zonk
from the keeping-anyone-else-from-being-you dept.
coondoggie handed us a link to a Network World article reporting that IBM plans to open source the project 'Identity Mixer'. Developed by a Zurich-based research lab for the company, Identity Mixer is a novel approach to protecting user identities online. The project, which is a piece of XML-based software, uses a type of digital certificate to control who has access to identity information in a web browser. IBM is enthusiastic about widespread adoption of this technology, and so plans to open source the project through the Eclipse Open Source Foundation. The company hopes this tactic will see the software's use in commercial, medical, and governmental settings.
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IBM to Open Source Novel Identity Protection Software

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  • by User 956 (568564) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:21PM (#17775862) Homepage
    Developed by a Zurich-based research lab for the company, Identity Mixer is a novel approach to protecting user identities online.

    which novel? I hope not 1984.
    • by jurt1235 (834677)
      1984 or not, identity mixer is already disturbing enough as an idea. It suggests it helps to mix identities!
      • 1984 or not, identity mixer is already disturbing enough as an idea. It suggests it helps to mix identities!

        Mixing identities? Nature already provides that functionality. This being slashdot, I'm sure many people may be unaware of that.
  • Anyone else read that as Novell Identity Protection Software and thought WTF? It is definitely beer-thirty.
    • Me. I already tagged it as: notnovell
      • lol...after actually RTFA'ing (a little) apparently Novell actually was involved in the earlier development - perhaps before then went to the dark side ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hsigned with Microsoft.

        Anyway, back on topic. Can anyone tell me why this is not just another implementation of SSO which (I saw Novell's original version and loathed it) is usually a really bad idea?
    • by BobPaul (710574) *
      Yeah, I did that.

      "How can IBM open up Novell's software??"
  • by Ceriel Nosforit (682174) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:24PM (#17775912)
    Anyone remember maybe a year or two ago when IBM was doing something with rather intrusive software to mine data on people?

    It seems IBM doesn't really have a clear policy on whether to be Good or Evil. They seem to try doing both at the same time...

    Guess we need to label IBM as Chaotic Neutral...
    • by Xtifr (1323) on Friday January 26, 2007 @06:01PM (#17776564) Homepage
      IBM's been like that for a long time. Remember when the PC division refused to sell the company's own operating system? (Of course, the PC division ended up being sold to a Chinese company, so I guess the OS/2 developers got the last laugh, but a bit too little too late.)

      Big, diverse companies often seem to be going in several directions at once, and in this industry, pretty much nobody is bigger or more diverse than IBM (still).
  • ms passport (Score:4, Funny)

    by dcskier (1039688) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:32PM (#17776088)
    what, you mean people don't like ms passport?
  • What's really new? (Score:2, Informative)

    by neonux (1000992)
    I mean what's new in this compared to current LiveJournal's OpenID [openid.net] ?
  • From what I read in the article (and I could be wrong, I admit), it sounds like people are simply controlling the amount of personal information that goes to the third party. So, I want to buy something, and only the pertinent information goes to the vendor.

    How is this different from things that have been tried in the past? Furthermore, how is this different from the various other situations we hear about occurring at financial institutions and the like, where a database is inadvertently printed or plac

    • What makes this better than me simply typing my credit card number into the secure web site of an online store (or have I missed the intended purpose)?

      it lets you enter your card into that phishing site you fell for faster

  • Thank God! Seriously, whoever thought that doing web security within HTML forms was a good idea really needs to be taken to the shed.
  • Am I the only one who read the title and thought Novell instead of novel?
  • by ivar (31153) on Friday January 26, 2007 @06:33PM (#17777094)
    can be found here [ibm.com].
  • Today if you want to conduct virtually any kind of commerce over the Net, you have to provide a whole dossier of information about yourself. Whether this information is technically necessary or not is irrelevant -- if virtually all companies demand it, then individuals will have to provide it.

    So here's some technology that allows you to anonymize your data or just not send it in the first place; what is the incentive for businesses to adopt this technology (at great cost to them)? Perhaps in Europe it will
  • Patented? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SiliconEntity (448450) on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:55PM (#17778348)
    idemix [ibm.com] which is the software in question appears to be covered by a number of patent applications [uspto.gov] submitted by the inventor, Jan Camenisch. What's the point in open-sourcing it if IBM has half a dozen or more patents covering the technology being used? Or will this process grant use of any IBM-owned patents necessary to run the code? And if so, what happens as people start modifying the code; how far can they go and still be indemnified against IBM patent infringement?

    Patents and open source don't mix well. I don't see how this is going to work.
    • IBM patents everything it can. If IBM doesn't patent something that they create, then another company will, and that company might not be friendly to open source developers. Most newer open source licenses include an explicit grant of patent rights which should eliminate most of these problems.
  • by nr1 (164056)
    This sounds similar in concept if not execution to CardSpace (http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/netframework/aa6 63320.aspx/ [microsoft.com]).
    Any thoughts on this?
  • The project, which is a piece of XML-based software, uses a type of digital certificate to control who has access to identity information in a web browser.

    Well now, that certainly seems like a complicated way to deny all cookies, disable the browser cache, block most "web bug" images, and have FireFox's "Clear Private Data" tool set to purge everything on closing the browser.

    All these companies trying to make it "easier" for me to share my info with those who I "trust" have completely missed the point

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