Yes, I know – Information Cards (or Infocards) and their incarnation in Microsoft Windows CardSpace have been around for a while. But it was mainly the inner circle of Identity Management (and especially of user-centric Identity Management) who was really aware of this. With the recent announcement of the Information Card Foundation (ICF), Microsoft and others are trying to improve the visibility of Information Cards as a core element of Identity Management in the so called cloud.

There has been some discussion around the announcement in blogs and forums in the Internet. One of the most interesting aspects discussed is the necessity to educate the broader public about the concepts and value of Information Cards and the entire “Identity Management for the cloud” (aka user-centric Identity Management, aka Identity 2.0). That must be a main target of ICF, but as well of all the other players in this emerging market.

First of all, I’m convinced that Information Cards as well as OpenID will become central standards in the Internet and for Identity Management. Given that at least OpenID isn’t that far away from reaching the critical mass and that Microsoft Vista adoption (which makes it easier to use CardSpace) is happening pretty fast, as well as some important Open Source initiatives working on these topics, that might happen earlier than most expect today.

Nevertheless it is important to explain the concepts for everyone – and to address the privacy and security concerns many will have. There are so many things which can be done using these technologies, from Single Sign-On and Profile Management in the web up to Corporate Business Cards. But they require an accepted concept.

Thus, the idea of ICF is great, when it goes beyond technical discussions around use cases and implementations issues and really focuses on education as well. On the other hand the member list of ICF proves that there is strong interest and support in the industry for Information Cards. You can bet that no one is in there who doesn’t expect that the use of Information Cards won’t support his business – otherwise they wouldn’t invest time and money into ICF.

ICF is a great thing from my perspective. It will drive Information Cards forward – and thus the Identity Management for the cloud.