Passing the Kearns Test

Few are better at rooting out half-baked ideas than Dave Kearn of Network Fusion and Network World. When he shoots a barb your way, pay attention. First of all, it will be too witty to ignore. More important, it's sure to contain at least one important idea.

So it's been great having Dave along in the part of the identity odyssey we've completed so far. I've counted on him to point out the parts of the discussion which are flabby, ill-expressed or don't hold together – and for offering remedies from his long experience in the trenches. In this regard, Dave is very well known as a neutral and trustworthy commentator by all those who deploy and manage identity systems.

I'm very moved by his kind personal comments in the piece below. But above all, I'm proud that through this conversation we have been able to earn his support for the laws as a place from which to begin structuring an ongoing identity conversation that doesn't always revert to page zero. Here's what he says in his latest newsletter.

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.

Published by

Kim Cameron

Work on identity.