fen's blog

Lessig on IP

I have fought software patents for years, and am equally appalled at the creeping (creepy?) unlimited enforcement of copyright. Staford law professor Lawrence Lessig recently had this to say:

Tuesday sharpened the definition of the ongoing legal struggle to satisfy both proprietary and open source advocates through equitable intellectual property regulations.

Identity Commons

We're trying out new ways of saying what we do. Here's one I sent a friend this evening...

The gist of what we're up to involves returning control over people's identities to the rightful owners - the people themselves. Today, many corporations each own bits and pieces of one's identity, and buy, sell and trade this information for their profit. A huge additional expense is incurred by each of these corps in trying to keep the data accurate and up-to-date, such as when people move, etc.


At the Identity Commons we're building a persistent global and/or local identity infrastructure using the OASIS standard for Extensible Resource Identifiers (XRI).


As I continue to work with Identity Commons, a colleague just pointed me to SharedId which is

... an authentication service that allows web users to share their personal information in a controlled manner with their favorite websites. SharedID is built on the open standards RSS, RDF and FOAF. [sharedid.com]

While this sounds promising, unfortunately SharedId is exactly the wrong thing.

How to Save the World

As you can tell, I'm not much of a blogger - no entries for five months! But when I saw the How to Save the World roadmap I had to say something about it. The 27 steps outlined are so simple and straightforward - it's a shame that we fancy ourselves "civilized" yet the chances of these steps being followed by any organization or government of significant size are minimal.

Dean for President

I just saw Howard Dean speak, and though I've liked him - and have planned to vote for him - for some time now, I'm finally jazzed enough to start telling people about him. He spoke on the economy, foreign policy and education, and then answered questions.


Finally signed on to Henri Poole's excellent Affero service - check it out (and if you're glad I sent you, let me know).

Lots going on, and there's always so much more to do.

ID Commons Workshop

Just came back from a great three-day Identity Commons workshop in Sebastopol. Lots of great people, and five main projects were defined as essential to getting things rolling:

  1. Marketing/Outreach
  2. Open Source Technology
  3. Fund raising/Revenue
  4. Greenhouse/Project Interface
  5. Legal/Org./Constitution

I'm heading up the technology project - gotta set the single sign-on distributed authentication / XRI-lite / profile access management all set up in three months.

Joi Ito on Identity

In a recent blog posting, Joi Ito wrote:

You don't care if my real name is Joi Ito or where I live exactly. As a blog reader, you probably care if it is the same blogger that has posted all of the other blog entries on this blog.

Precisely - for reputation to accrue and be trustable, all you need to know is that it is the same identity/actor as the last time.

spineless Democrats

Haven't blogged in a while - I'm just getting used to this - and I feel I need to practice...

It strikes me that the Democrats seem to be so incapable of mounting an offensive against a president that clearly fabricated evidence to pull this country into a costly (in many ways) war, while the Republicans never seem to be at a loss to take a simple issue (like a President's mistress) and blow it up into an impeachable offense.

Another sad thing to watch is the trouble the Dems have in raising money.

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