Sunday, 29 November 2009

Lifestreaming and your Federated Identity

Lifestreaming is a term that was coined by Eric Freeman and David Gelernter at Yale University in the mid-1990s to describe "...a time ordered stream of documents that functions as a diary of your electronic life, every document you create and every document other people send you is stored in your lifestream." The oldest posts or the tail of your stream contains documents from the past and more recent documents are toward the present. These are atifacts such as electronic mail, pictures, movies, voice mail, reminders, calendar items, to do lists etc. Today most of us have information scattered all around the internet, or now known by its metaphor as 'the cloud'.

How do you manage your identity and logins to all these resources? You have many more than you may think. Your bank, insurers, travel company, the government, online stores etc and thats not to mention life streaming services like:

What we all have now is a federated identity or the virtual reunion, or assembled identity and this information is stored across multiple distinct identity management systems. Sometimes these are linked together by a common token, usually a user name if you use a common one for multiple systems or services. You are authenticated across multiple systems or even organisations. Your identity is distributed and accessible.

Not everyone has a constant flow of their recorded information posted both online and offline and its a mistake to think about this by limiting the concept your digital life as only a sum of the feeds you publish. Flickr and Youtube are ways of displaying your life in the offline world that may be there forever.

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