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The Laws of Identity and Cardspace. Charles Young Solidsoft. CardSpace. Embodies Kim Cameron’s ‘Laws of Identity ’ Universal identity systems Supports the Identity Metasystem. The Identity Meta-what???. The Identity Meta-system

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The laws of identity and cardspace

The Laws of Identity and Cardspace

Charles Young



  • Embodies Kim Cameron’s ‘Laws of Identity’

    • Universal identity systems

  • Supports the Identity Metasystem

The Identity Meta-what???

  • The Identity Meta-system

    • A single identity ‘fabric’ supported by many different technologies

    • A system of systems

    • …so standards are important here!!

Yes, but what is an identity?

  • It’s a list of claims about an entity

    • Entities….that’s me and you!

    • My name is Charles

    • I work for Solidsoft

    • My email address is….

      • …well, that would break laws 2 and 3

  • Law 1: User Control and Consent

  • Only reveal information with the user’s consent

    • It’s their identity, after all

Law 2: Minimal disclosure for a defined use

  • Disclose as little identifying information as possible

  • Limit the use of identifying information as much as possible

  • Helps build stable long-term solutions.

Law 3: Justifiable Parties

  • Don’t disclose identifying information to a party that cannot ‘justify’ itself.

    • All parties must identify themselves

    • Establish trust relationships

Law 4: Directional Identity

  • Omni-directional

    • Publicly broadcast your identity

    • ‘Look at me everyone! Here I am. It’s me.’

  • Uni-directional

    • Privately assert your identity

    • ‘Psst…It’s me. The password is ‘Cardspace’. Let me in.’

  • Identity systems must support both.

Law 5: Pluralism of operators and technologies

  • If it’s Microsoft-only, its useless!

  • …but seriously…

    • The Identity meta-system MUST NOT be bound to proprietary solutions and technologies

    • Different cultures

    • Different contexts

Law 6: Human Integration

  • Humans are first-class components if the identity meta-system (duh)

  • Unambiguous human-machine communication

  • Machines don’t attack you – humans do.

Law 7: Consistent experience across contexts

  • ‘Thingify’ your identities

  • Consistency shines the spotlight on attackers

CardspaceActors: Subjects


Individuals and other entities about whom claims are made

CardspaceActors: Relying Parties

Relying Parties

Require identities


Individuals and other entities about whom claims are made

CardspaceActors: Identity Providers

Identity Providers

Issue identities

Relying Parties

Require identities


Individuals and other entities about whom claims are made

The Cardspace Identity Selector

  • Reason over your identities

  • Smart selection

TheCardspace Logon process

Service Provider Requests Identity

CardSpace Identity Selector pops up

Token is built by Identity Selector(with Identity Provider)

Token sent to client

Output sent to client


Information Card Types

Contains self-asserted claims about me

Stored locally

Use instead of username/password


Information Card Types

Provided by banks, stores, government, clubs, etc.

Claims stored at Identity Provider and sent only when card submitted

Cards and standards

  • Cards contain metadata only!

  • Cardspace can handle any claims tokens

    • SAML tokens are most common

  • Cardspace uses WS-* standards

Call to action

  • Cardspace-enable your web sites

    • Relying parties

  • Invest in Secure Token Server technology

    • Identity providers

  • Spread the word.