My final witness

Everything I do professionally has as its goal the creation of an inclusive identity metasystem for the Internet.

Inclusive means that every vendor, every innovator, every thinker in every generation can be part of it, shaping and using it as they see fit – a real ecology.

Metasystem means that identity claims can be provided by many different types of parties, each meaningful in some context which unites those in an interaction.

Metasystem also means that no one gets to proclaim they have the culminating technology – there is always room to innovate and evolve the underlying pieces as fresh thinkers inevitably transcend what we can do from our vantage point here in 2005.

In other words, I want to build a system flexible enough that it doesn't fall down the first time the world shakes.

It would be silly to hinge anything this important on a personage as imperfect as I am. I would rather hinge things on a set of objective statements, which is what I have done in proposing we converge around the laws of identity.

But in moving forward, I want to reach out – even to fellow techies who think like this:

Microsoft is trying to put on a kinder, gentler shell, but underneath it's still the same old dictatorial slimebags.

This is where it comes down to real people talking about their real lives and inner worries and reflexes and – dare I say it – ideology.

It is so important that people see the Identity Big Bang is not a game of Dungeons and Dragons, but rather a defining moment in laying out a governable infrastructure for our transition into cyberspace. It takes a bit of serious thought.

It's embarrasing for me to point skeptics to this wonderfully kind piece by standards activist Drummond Reed. Let him be my final witness before we return to a discussion of what is objective:

I just want to go on record that Kim is 100% the real thing. I’ve never met anyone like him. The Laws didn’t come from any preconceived agenda or marketing spin, they came straight from the heart of Kim’s lifetime of messaging and metadirectory experience and his passion for creating a true Internet-wide identity infrastructure that will finally usher in what he calls “the big bang” – the explosion of new applications that will be possible with authenticated online trust relationships (also known as the Social Web.)

As he began to talk to the open standard/open source/open trust community about the basic principles and architecture underlying InfoCards – and the fact that it must be an open, platform-independent solution that we all agree to, not unlike TCP/IP itself – he ran into a steady stream of gaping jaws. Could this be this the same Microsoft that had only three years ago proposed Passport and Hailstorm to the world?

Well, it’s not the same Microsoft. It’s the Kim Cameron-inspired Microsoft. Call me a starry-eyed optimist, but to put a twist on my favorite quote from Margaret Mead : “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change Microsoft. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Kim needs our support to pull this off. He’s got mine.

This endorsement says way more about Drummon's vision and immunity to ideology than about me as an individual. He's a clear-eyed guy who wants the same metasystem I do. Like many others, he wants Microsoft to be part of the conversation and do its extensible (pluggable) backplane thing because if we're not there, it's going to take a long time (read long long time) to get Internet identity in place.

As for my relationship with Microsoft, I won't say I never “argue passionately with myself”. But I do my best to represent the Microsoft which turned computers from a bureaucratic contraption to an extension to the human mind and cortex. Not alone! And not perfectly! But in a way that transformed human reality for the better. And I see myself as one of the many who are calling on her to be true to her DNA, and in light of all she has learned as she matured, to apply her shoulder to bringing forth a new era in software, where again it becomes obvious that there is opportunity for everyone.

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Kim Cameron

Work on identity.