Phil Windley is an Enterprise Architect in the Office of the CIO at Brigham Young University. He is also the co-founder and organizer of the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW), serves as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at BYU, writes the popular Technometria blog, and is the author of the books “The Live Web” (Course Technology, 2011) and “Digital Identity” (O'Reilly Media, 2005).
UnboundID: What were the hot areas of discussion at the latest IIW event?
Windley: Generally, it’s a mix of topics, those that have been part of IIW for a long time, like OAuth and multi-factor authentication. We also had a lot of discussions on block chain technology, the distributed decentralized ledger system for Bitcoin. The key idea of block chain is that it allows you to create an identity system that is not controlled by any single entity. Today, if I log into a website and I have the option of using Google or Facebook credentials to do that, it’s very convenient. It saves people a lot of headaches and also allows for some security wins because Google and Facebook put a lot of effort into building identity systems. Yet the identity is still controlled by those big companies. Not everyone likes that idea. They might be worried about privacy or maybe they don’t have an account at one of those sites and they don’t want to create one. Distributed ledger technology creates a system where everyone can join. It’s not controlled by a single entity, but rather by code written by a group of people. It completely decentralizes the identity management system.