People are doing more and more online. They use Flickr to upload and share their pictures, they blog using Blogger and Livejournal, and chat using AOL systems. In addition to doing more online, the more they do, the more passwords they (tend) to have to know. They also have to create a discrete user profile for each new environment. With OpenID, those hassles could be over!
What is OpenID
OpenID is an open source community project that is intended to act as a centralised user-space. It is describes as:
a lightweight method of identifying individuals that uses the same technology framework that is used to identify web sites … It eliminates the need for multiple usernames across different websites, simplifying your online experience. You get to choose the OpenID Provider that best meets your needs and most importantly that you trust. At the same time, your OpenID can stay with you, no matter which Provider you move to. And best of all, the OpenID technology is not proprietary and is completely free.(Source)
In essence, users will be able to carry their profiles and data with them, regardless of the service or content providers that they turn to. the major upshot, for consumers, is that it should mitigate some difficulties and hassles related to online lock-in. At the same time, it means that the different communities and spaces a person participates in will have access to that centralised knowledge basin, from which increasingly complex and rigorous digital portfolios can be developed.
As an initial aside: Linux betas really are betas, nothing like the relatively polished (in comparison) betas that Redmond released.
Piracy or ‘Avast Me Mateys!’
I don’t spend a lot of time talking about software or music piracy, largely because I think that there are alternate sources that more effectively aggregate and deliver news about it. That said, I couldn’t resist commenting on Jennifer Pariser’s (head of litigation for Sony BMG) statements surrounding digital technologies. When under oath, Pariser responded to Richard Gabriel’s (the lead counsel for record labels) question of whether it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music they have purchased, stating,
When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.” Making “a copy” of a purchased song is just “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy’ (source).
Her comments directly point to why fair use is under such duress. More importantly, however, even when we apply the principle of charity to her general position, her comments seem to defy the public’s position on the matter. I don’t want to suggest that because people generally believe something that the law should reflect their beliefs – if that was the case then racial segregation would be more prominent than it is – but that when extensive public discourse has been undertaken and a common position is held by the deliberative participants, that their shared consensus should operate as the basis for developing legitimated law. I think that this discourse has, and continues to, occur in North America.