December 13, 2006

There is No Money in the Authentication Business

Periodically Martin writes about the need for a way to authenticating intruding callers. He has written before and also in a recent post he suggests entities like Skype can be the middlemen and can hope to “collect a zillion dollars for handing out the security certificate for premium authenticated B2C calls”. Also recently, Jonathan Rosenberg has written about a dated RFC on service provider authenticating caller ID. I am sure service providers see green in the so called “P-Asserted ID”. I am a bit puzzled about comments from these otherwise proponents of disintermediation not advocating an “user asserted” ID. Here I am suggesting that we adopt and advocate the use of OpenID for asserting ones ID.

In case you do not know about OpenID, it is “an open, decentralized, free framework for user-centric digital identity”. The ID is an URI and you prove ownership of this URI through an Identification Provider (IdP). The important thing to note is that the verifier need not have any prior association with the third party’s IdP and secondly, you can be your own IdP.

In this scheme, my SIP Invite message could contain my OpenID and you can authenticate it using the documented mechanism. The scheme also allows for providing additional information that I have authorized the IdP to share it with you. Given this scheme is distributed and open, there is no need for a handful of dominating and intermediating IdPs.

Additionally, it looks like Martin has given up hope on an open user-owned telephony system. But I am more hopeful.

Posted by aswath at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2006

Cell Phones Could be a PLB

While writing about GPS-based navigation enabled cell phones, Katie Fehrenbacher remarks that such technology could have saved James Kim. The area is so isolated, I understand there were no cell radio coverage in that area. Still, one could use cell phones as a limited Personal Locator Beacons. For this, we just have to equip rescue planes/helicopters with a small sized base stations that could try to pick up cell phone signals from people in dustress. After all, we are told that in the case of Kims, they could hear the planes flying above them. Planes equipped with such base stations would have heard their cell phones. Taking a step further, three such planes flying in formation could have even pin-pointed their exact location.

Posted by aswath at 06:56 PM | Comments (1)

December 05, 2006

Fallen Soufflé

A few days back, Om posted that Gizmo Project will make web based calling easy via a flash based client. This was an interesting piece of information on two counts. Earlier Om had reported that Adobe is working on a flash based IP Communications client. With this news, either Adobe is close to releasing their version or Gizmo Project has developed on themselves. If Adobe has developed it, I am assuming that they will bundle it with their free player. In that case, it is apparent that VoIP service providers become superfluous; Jeff Pulver’s holy grail of “Be your own phone company” can be realized. So the involvement of Gizmo Project is interesting by itself.

But alas! Soon enough Om corrected his story to say that Gizmo Project will be releasing a browser plugin and not a flash based client. But this has been done by others starting with Free world Dialup. Oh well, we have to wait for the real deal from Adobe.

Posted by aswath at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

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