Wikipedia defines 27 different kinds of brokers, but none of them are associated with identity.
If PayPal’s Andrew Nash has his way, Wikipedia’s “broker” entry may be headed for an edit. Nash is PayPal’s senior director of identity services and he is also a speaker at July’s Cloud Identity Summit, where he will discuss PayPal’s vision of cloud identity.
But in general terms, the subject of identity providers as trust brokers is a central theme.
“Without the broker, it is doubtful whether the consumer ID model will function effectively in a business sense going forward,” says Nash.
Consumer ID begins to provide an infrastructure for digital identity. “But the interesting problems is how do you distribute that identity in a controlled way,” says Nash. “We need the IDP as the trust broker. They broker the correct usage of the user’s information.”
He says on the Web the goal is to get something done, not just prove who you are. So the question becomes how do you establish trust.
“Most of what we have tried to do in the trust space is technology based, we provide protocols, toosl and message formats,” said Nash. “That is not sufficient and we don't want to repeat that mistake."
He says the hard problems are facilitating agreements, creating policy models and answering liability questions. “There is a whole range of stuff that is non-technical adjuncts to make this all work.”
Nash say groups like the Open Identity Exchange, where he on the board of directors, is one way to attack the questons.
But the answers, Nash believes, are a collection of identity brokers that will define a business model or provide a service that makes all this work. Without that the Internet is left with a loose association of users trying to create relevant connections online.
Nash predicts that perhaps a dozen total identity brokers will eventually be operating online with the primary ones being established in the next three to four years.