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Yesterday CBS News reported about plans of the Obama administration to introduce an internet identity system. The author of the article speculates about the possible implementation but comes to the conclusion that details about the “trusted identity” project are remarkably scarce.
Today the always investigative Silicon Alley Insider is also quoting the CBS News article and only adds one fine sentence Details scant, but you can bet this is going to freak people out. In the comments tech reporter extraordinaire, Henry Blodget, chimes in with an even more eloquent comment.
Curt Hopkins of ReadWriteWeb, who usually writes good articles, is referring to a CNET article about the topic. Well, it’s actually the same article as the CBS News one. Hopkins can only speculate as well.
It’s disappointing that no one did any research on how the implementation will actually work. Well, I answered a question on the topic on Quora last night, quoting it here in full length:
As far as I understand it, it is not as bad as it sounds. Though, the CBS article is not really helpful.
Basically, this “Internet ID” means that US citizens can use existing online identities to engage with government agencies. Those identities are, e.g. OpenIDs and Information Cards. Both the OpenID Foundation (OIDF) and the Information Card Foundation founded Open Identity Exchange (http://openidentityexchange.org/) to certify providers last year. Certified providers are Google, PayPal, VeriSign, and Equifax so far (http://openidentityexchange.org/certified-providers). Another certifying instance is the Kantara Initiative (http://kantarainitiative.org/); see also http://www.idmanagement.gov/drilldown.cfm?action=openID_openGOV
Regarding the Stanford event, you might also want to check out the OIDF statement (http://openid.net/2011/01/08/internet-identity-system-said-readied-by-obama/).
So, the US government does not control those identities.
Hopefully, I got things right.
Kaliya Hamlin also just published an excellent article about the topic.
Twitter is a great service which has become indispensable for me. Though it’s missing some features which would make it even better. Many clients enhance the service but sometimes I just want to use the web interface. So here are four tools that add cool features to Twitter. I use and like them all.
When Twitter launched its new version in September 2010, it also introduced embedded photos and videos from a variety of services like YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, and TwitPic.
Embed.ly is enhancing this functionality to more than 160 services, from Scribd (that’s why you can read the full text of the referenced TechCrunch post in the screenshot below), to Flickr, to Tumblr and even to Google Profiles; just have a look at the full list of supported services on the Embed.ly website.
Embed.ly helps a lot when scanning my timeline on the Twitter website. The Instapaper integration is also useful for quickly marking articles for later reference. Unfortunately, Chrome is the only supported browser so far.
Another noteworthy Chrome extension is Proxlet. Sometimes you just don’t want to see tweets of certain users, tweets containing hashtags you’re simply not interested in or even tweets from some services like FourSquare.
But what can you do? You need filters. Of course, there are Twitter clients available which offer some of the mentioned features but Twitter itself doesn’t offer them. You need Proxlet. It’s muting users, filters hashtags, blocks apps, and much more (see screenshot).
You can also mute users, hashtags and apps even later directly from your Twitter timeline.
Proxlet also works for Tweetdeck’s desktop client, Twitter for iPhone, and the Android clients Seesmic and Twidroyd.
It happened too often to not identify it as a problem: I post a link to a great article but don’t bookmark it. So when I want to reference it later, I’m usually lost. I could go back in my timeline but that’s not really a comfortable way to find the link again as you can guess. So wouldn’t it be nice if all my links were saved somewhere?
Trunk.ly is exactly doing this. It saves all my posted links from Twitter and displays them nicely ordered including hashtags on my profile page. Users can also add their Facebook profile, WordPress, Tumblr, and Posterous blogs, and even their Instapaper, Delicious and Pinboard accounts. Trunk.ly would then import all links.
Talking about Pinboard, the rising star of social bookmarking. Pinboard is not only an excellent and full-fledged social bookmarking service and probably the most well-known mentioned service of this post, it can also be configured to save all tweets including links and favorites. So it’s a fine backup service for Twitter as well.