Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The toe nails of Identity Elephant

I have over time learned that defining things has not been my strength and over time I have understood that most of us in Identity and Access space can run most of our professional life without have a industry standard definitions. But at the same time, I like to keep a glossary list handy which I attach to every project document and let it change as the client tries to make sense out of their environment.
After reading the Dave Kearns and Scott Lemon's thoughts, I was again reminded of the Identity elephants that seems to be in the room and how people are trying to find it. In that context I think I found that these two people are so close in their definition the way I understood them that I had to write about it. The idea in case of Scott is that Identity is "same as" while for Dave is "Identifying" (which for him somehow always leads to DNA, twins, etc, anyway this may be something for other blog). Now incase of an identification system, the identification means it needs to have information about the entity that it wants to "Identify". So, the process of "identification" for the system means that the representation of the "identity" in the system's memory is "same as" representation of the entity that system has received from the entity (through the authentication information/identifiable attributes). With regards to the other part of Scott's article that is about existance of "Observer", that ties in well with Dave's idea of "identify" that in order to get the "identifiable attribute" in the memory of the system, some one has to "observe" the entity and register its identifiable attributes and so this is an action that takes place before the identifiable attribute can be stored in memory.
So to summarize
  • Observer "observes" the identifiable attribute
  • Observer stores the identifiable attribute in Identification system's memory
  • Entity exposes its identifiable attribute(s) to Identification system
  • Identification System uses the identifiable attribute(s) stored in memory to check whether the Entity's identifiable attribute(s) is "same as" that stored in memory.
And thus we have identified the toe nails of identity elephant.

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