OpenID has been a hot topic lately. A few days ago, AOL announced it’s support for the system. Then recently, Digg’s Kevin Rose also announced during the Future Of Web Apps conference that they will implement the system later this year.
What is OpenID?
OpenID is an open, decentralized, free framework for user-centric digital identity.
The concept of OpenID is that anyone can use it to identify themselves anywhere in the Internet. It works almost like having your own web address or URI (also known as URL). URIs are considered to be at the very core of the Web architecture and this provides a good, solid foundation for a user-centric identity or identification system.
How does it work?
Authentication is the first part of the OpenID framework, it is how you prove ownership of the URI. Right now, we use usernames and passwords as a form of authentication to login to websites. With OpenID, your username becomes your URI. Your URI along with your password and other details are stored safely on your OpenID Provider. You can have your own OpenID Provider or it can also be a third-party identity provider.
To login to an OpenID-enabled website (even one you’ve never been to before), just type your OpenID URI. The website will then redirect you to your OpenID Provider to login using whatever credentials it requires. Once authenticated, your OpenID provider will send you back to the website with the necessary credentials to log you in. By using Strong Authentication where needed, the OpenID Framework can be used for all types of transactions, both extending the use of pure single-sign-on as well as the sensitivity of data shared.
Who owns OpenID?
Nobody should own this. Nobody’s planning on making any money from this. The goal is to release every part of this under the most liberal licenses possible, so there’s no money or licensing or registering required to play. It benefits the community as a whole if something like this exists, and we’re all a part of the community.
Wouldn’t it be nice if most if not all programs and systems were like this? Free for everyone, no licenses and fees to worry about. This shows that it’s not impossible to have these things for free as long as people help and contribute. This is also something that can be very useful for all users because they no longer have to worry about remembering or forgetting their different usernames and passwords for all their online accounts. It will also save users a lot of time and effort.
What do you think about this new open, decentralized, free framework for digital identity? Anyone here using it or planning on using it in the near future? What do you think are the advantages or disadvantages of using this type of tool/framework? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.