Why you should immerse yourself in the Seven Laws of Identity

* Kim Cameron gives Digital ID World attendees some food for thought

I spent an enormously enlightening week at Digital ID World in San Francisco last week. Actually, it probably could have been renamed "Kim Cameron World." The soft-spoken Microsoft identity architect has taken the world (or, at least, that small corner of the world populated by those of us who think identity is key) by storm with his promulgation of the Seven Laws of Identity (link to Cameron's identity blog below).

Not only was his session on the laws filled to overflowing by those eager to understand their nature, but also the laws were the central theme of Burton Group CEO Jamie Lewis' opening keynote and Linux Journal Editor Doc Searls' closing summary. Cameron also walked away with a Digital ID World award. According to the show organizers, the awards are "...dedicated to recognizing those individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution (technology, policy or social) to the digital identity industry."

Cameron's contribution goes well beyond the content of the laws themselves. He's fostered, almost single-handedly, a constant, globe-circling conversation taking place not only in the metaverse of the blogosphere (where the "listener" sometimes feels they're at a virtual tennis match as they snap back and forth from one blog to another) but also in the physical world where any two or more people with an interest in defining identity (and identity solutions) gather.

In the lobbies of the San Francisco Hyatt Regency, you could see and hear small groups of attendees talking about one law or another, what it might mean or where it might lead. In the almost 20 years that I've been involved with identity, this is the most exciting event to have occurred.

I urge all of you to get involved in this conversation. For consumers of identity products, the seven laws give you the foundation for the questions to ask of any vendor looking for your business. For vendors, the laws provide a working context for designing the next version of your products and services. For all of us, the laws force us to look at our own beliefs about identity and re-think them. Get involved in these conversations or risk being left behind.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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