Identity Management & Roles Based Access Control
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
  The Most Important Thing in Identity is Trust

After reading through Stephen Downe's opus on Identity, it got me thinking about what the most important part of identity is.

Personally, I think it is Trust.

trust Pronunciation Key (trst)
1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.

I think this is the essence. If we take the example of transient identity I espoused in my last post, the key underlying factor that makes the system work is the trusted relationships between entities.

In Stepehen Downe's example (the one that made me think about this in the first place), the key again is trust.

Stephen Says:
To put it in slogan form: when you present your driver's license to the police officer, that's an identity claim. When the police officer compares the photo on the license with your face, that's authentication.
What he's saying is that the police officer places greater trust in the drivers license being accurate than he does in your verbal assertion of who you are.

This even fits with the discussion around claims and assertions of identity. There is no reason why the drivers license you present to the police officer has to be valid, correct, or even accurate - as long as the trust exists between the police officer and the facts contained within the document presented, then the authentication of your assertion will be accepted.

In a personal identity service, it is trust which is most critical.
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