The Road to Transactional Assurance (IP Explosion, pt 2)

In my last post, I wrote about how Bob Blakley’s two uses of the word “Relationship” in his presentation at Catalyst had got me thinking about two questions:

  1. What other relationships are missing from the Identity scene that might be inhibiting its development?
  2. What other information would be valuable in Bob’s “Relationship Data Object” besides the nature of the relationship between the Subject and the IP?

In other words, Bob spent a lot of time talking about the relationship between the IP and the Subject, but I want to know if there are some other relationships, the neglect of which, might be a greater inhibitor to this industry moving forward. Also, if we do find some other relationships that need to be accounted for, what implications does that have for the “Relationship Data Object” Bob sees as the tradeable asset in the industry?

Now since my thoughts about this have been in some way inspired by an analysis of Bob’s talk, I want to keep with that theme and AVOID doing something with this series that both Bob and I have a tendency to do, and that is to “bury the lead”. In other words, Bob and I both like to keep the “cool” idea that we think we have until the end of a paper. This is a lot of fun as an author because it let’s us build up some suspense. The problem with this is that the subject matter of Identity is obscure enough on its own, and by trying to be clever, we can very easily lose our audience. It’s kind of akin to trying to build tension when writing an API–it may be the wrong literary device for the subject.

Having said that, let me introduce the diagram below:

ipexplosion2.png

This diagram outlines what I see as a more fully fleshed out Identity “stack”. The roles in carnation (OminGraffle’s term, not mine) show the roles that the Identity community spends a lot of time talking about. The roles in other colors are the roles that get less attention. Now before I go on, let me make clear that I’m not really introducing anything novel here. I’ve heard all these other roles discussed before (and I’m sure that upon publishing this, I’ll learn there are entire projects dedicated to them!). Nonetheless, for all the talk and work going on around the carnation roles, these equally important roles seem to get short shrift (for reasons that are not too surprising and that I shall endeavor to explain).

More importantly, I believe that each of these roles is a NECESSARY component of the Identity stack, if Burton’s vision of an “Identity Oracle” or Microsoft’s vision of “Minimal Disclosure” is going to be realized. Further, I also believe that each of these roles is probably better handled by DIFFERENT kinds of organizations. The good news if this is indeed a more accurate picture of the IP is that there are a NUMBER of potential business opportunities surrounding the Identity space. The bad news is, I don’t think the industry has done enough legwork to determine if there is enough DEMAND at all for claim-based Identity to justify the incredible resources necessary to create any one of these businesses.

In my next post, I’m going to take a look at the business in the exploded Identity stack whose role it is to DETERMINE the supply and demand of claims, namely the baby blue (or Sky in OG speak) “Claim Broker”.

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