FOAF and Digital ID

Marc Canter picks up on Ben and Mena’s plans to include “friend of a friend” ID and relationship logic in Movable Type.
Marc connects this to an ongoing conversation about Digital ID. “Persistent digital ID’s is a foundation building block needed for social networking and what I call ‘the mesh’. (I got the link from Euan Semple)
The problem with proposals for top-down digital ID is that they don’t do anything good for individuals — they give governments and businesses more power for intrusive marketing and surveillance.
The problems with all the proposals for bottom-up digital ID is that they don’t give any immediate return to individuals. You fill out a form on your desktop computer, and the data is encrypted, and then what? Bottom up movements have gotten no traction; there’s no incentive to the individual to play.
Blogspace is different. People are already using weblogs to connect to their friends and build new connections with people with common interests.
A FOAF-based blogroll gizmo would automatically build a blogroll with data about the friends and aquaintances in your blogroll. Somebody could provide hosted services for bloggers using simpler tools.
This semantically rich information could be crawled, parsed, and mapped to reveal beautiful and useful patterns about the relationships between people and ideas.
The application will spread across the network, because it meets a need that people already have — to keep track of each other’s blogs.
Thereby creating the critical mass for other decentralized, user-driven id services.
Watch blogspace.

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