Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.
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Archive for March, 2002

Not all Identities were Created Equal

March 16, 2002 By: Andre Category: Musings

As I contemplate the landscape of existing and potentially new identity-based applications, it appears to me that they fall into roughly two categories. While both types of identity qualify as ‘identity-based applications’, they are perceived, used and treated quite differently by the identity holder and in fact I contend they are indeed vastly different, both in value to the identity holder, and in potential value to the identity vendor and service provider.  


When I become an employee of a company, an identity (e.g. title, function etc.) is issued to me. While certain attributes of this issued identity (referred to within as a ‘Tier 1’ identity) are within my ultimate control (name, address etc.), many other attributes such as network or application access are only contextually and temporarily assigned to me. As long as I remain an employee in good standing, the company permits me to carry this issued identity, however, while I do take partial ownership of this identity, I understand that it can be removed from me at any time, and therefore, I am not in complete control over it.


Now to compare and contrast, take an identity which I create by myself and for myself (referred to as a Tier 2 identity). This identity carries much the same information of a Tier 1 identity (name, address etc.), but there’s a big difference in both my perception and the reality of my ownership and control over this identity. Tier 2 identities are typically thought of as permanent, unconditional and all-encompassing. While both types of identities have their place in today’s networked society, only Tier 2 identities promise to unlock a future of personal identity conveniences promised by identity management infrastructure.


What will be interesting to watch is how Tier 1 and Tier 2 identities interact with one another as they both unfold and their capabilities begin to touch and overlap. While ultimately I believe Tier 1 identities will lay at least partially subservient to Tier 2, Tier 1 has today at least already demonstrated its ability to provide tangible ROI in ways that Tier 2 only promises to do.


Andre Durand is a contributing writer to Digital ID World and the Founder and CEO of Ping Identity Corporation