News from the Far Side

One of the things about running my own business is that there are unlimited opportunities to learn, first hand, the truth of all kinds of stuff you’ve been told and just thought “well, ‘duh…!'”.

Today’s light-bulb moment: “As a publishing medium, a website is “passive”, and therefore not an interactive way to engage with your audience”. [“Well, ‘duh…!'” Ed.]

As a statement, that reaches (I hope!) new heights of dullness for this blog… (though if not, please feel free not to comment with a long list of other, more boring statements from this blog… ;^). However, the implications are quite interesting.

Unless you expect people to subscribe to a ‘feed’ of your website you have to rely on them coming back to see if there’s new content. For a typical mainstream media site both of those are entirely realistic expectations – they offer feeds and can also expect people to visit regularly because their content is ephemeral in principle. Otherwise, for a ‘normal‘ website, only content like News, Press Releases and Events is ephemeral, and the rest is less volatile and therefore less likely to encourage frequent visits.

Bottom line: I have decided to use this blog to let people know when I post substantial content to the Future Identity website, as you are more likely to be subscribing to or visiting the blog. So, over on the website I have just updated the “Portfolio” section with news from the first couple of months of Future Identity’s existence. Just to subvert my own publication model, though, here’s a copy of the new content ;^)

January 2009

Consulting engagement

I was delighted to be able to ‘hit the ground running’, and kick off 2009 (and Future Identity) by closing an order in the first week of January. This was for a consulting engagement with a UK public sector organisation, to do an analysis of plans for integration with a number of other European authentication services.

As you can imagine, a lot of my time currently is spent on developing the foundations of future business, so here are some of the other activities I’ve been involved in which I hope will result in project work in due course.

GENI programme

In late January I took part in the ‘Workshop on GENI and Security’, hosted by the University of California (Davis) for the US GENI programme. This brought together academic and commercial researchers to propose projects for the GENI programme. I set out a proposal for a privacy-related work stream to complement the other functional R&D themes in GENI. The formal proposal was submitted in February, so we will see what results from that once the proposals have been filtered and evaluated.

February 2009
Liberty Alliance, Privacy Steering Group

Late February saw the Liberty Alliance’s plenary meetings, hosted at Sun Microsystems’ Santa Clara campus. I was there to plan the next phase of work for the Public Policy Expert Group (PPEG), and also to host a Privacy Steering Group session in which we brought together representatives of the corporate CPO, legal and technology communities to help define Liberty’s future work on identity and privacy. A summary of that meeting will go up shortly, both here and on the Liberty website. (Links to follow soon)

There’s great work going on at Liberty, particularly in the areas of Identity Governance, Identity Assurance, and an intriguing project called the Citizen Dashboard. This latter work should make significant steps towards something which has, over the past couple of years, frequently been to subject of my mild-mannered rants: namely, a better way for the individual to see and manage their digital footprint.

I know the phrase “watch this space” is horribly clichéd, but this is a space genuinely worth watching.

EnCoRe project

I have also taken part in two workshop sessions for the EnCoRe project (mentioned on the Links page of this site). EnCoRe is one of a triplet of projects sponsored by the UK Technology Strategy Board, and also aimed at improving the quality of individuals’ perception of their online privacy and identity. The simply-stated objective of EnCoRe is to make the issuing and revocation of consent ‘as easy as turning a tap on or off’. It will be simpler to state than to achieve, I’m sure, but well worth the investigation, and so far a very lean, productive project.
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2 thoughts on “News from the Far Side

  1. CarolynC says:

    Good idea about posting updates here, Robin. I also like the sidebar with updates on your site’s home page. I didn’t find an RSS option on it, though.

  2. Robin Wilton says:

    Hmm. Good point. I have looked at the website creation tool I was using, and it looks like the only pre-packaged RSS feed it has is the one bundled with its FAQ-publishing option (i.e. if I tell it I’m publishing an FAQ, but then simply type news items in instead of FAQ items, it will publish them in an RSS-subscribable format). The snag is that it will only do that by using a MySQL database, and I’m already using the one database my current hosting package includes :^(

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