I first became aware of the movement behind the OpenID project back in 2004 at Advocacy Dev 1, organized by Aspiration Tech. At the first Toronto Drupal Camp, I attended a great workshop by James Walker who was running through his OpenID module which has since been released as part of Drupal Core. At that time I decided to set up an account with MyOpenID.com and have been using it ever since. I've been so impressed with this approach to managing usernames & passwords that I've been enabling OpenID on client sites by default.
Yahoo (with Flickr) was the first big company to announce that they would provide OpenID authentication for all of their users in February. Since then AOL (archive.org) has also jumped on board extending the authentication even further. Google (and Blogger.com) has announced support for OpenID as has Microsoft (LiveID).
So when will we see a single sign on for the Government of Canada. Not that everyone would feel comfortable using the government as a source of authentication, but wouldn't it be nice if you could register once with the government and know that you would be able to authenticate against any other Canadian government website using that same username/password?
This is a protocol which is secure, well supported and which has a critical mass of users and developers that it is easy to adopt. There are plenty of resources available to help government staff host an OpenID server.
The framework also allows you to choose what OpenID provider you are using when you login to a site (and sites usually allow you to store more than one profile). So I could login with MikeGifford.openid.gc.ca when logging in to government websites, and then use my main mgifford.myopenid.com profile when I am accessing other sites (but obviously I could use my openid.gc.ca profile in other places).
It is great to see initiatives like Demand OpenID working to encourage organizations to adopt this platform. Using bookmarklets like the one made available through this campaign it is really easy to collect lists of links you'd like to see use OpenID.
Thanks Nora for getting me thinking about this earlier today.
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