Blog posts by Tim Cole


Identity – Last Man Standing?

Somehow the Hofbraeukeller in Munich, one of my favorite city’s nicest beer garden restaurants, seems to lend itself particularly well to long, meandering discussions of identity management. It’s the place the U.S. participants at the European Identity Conference regularly gather for their pre-conference pigs’ feet feast, and since it’s conveniently located around the corner from where I live, I often use it as a meeting place for visitors from all over the world. I mean, if you’re in Bavaria, by all means go to a Bavarian place for lunch instead of one of the ubiquitous sushi stalls. I...


Lesser of two evils?

More than 250.000 people have watched "ethical hacker" Chris Paget cruising the streets of San Francisco gathering RFID data from the new U.S. PASS cards and "enhanced" chipped drivers licenses. All it took him about $250 for a scanner and an antenna, as well as a piece of software he downloaded from the Internet. The new "e-passports" are now mandatory for U.S. citizens entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean, though conventional passports will be accepted as long as they are valid. Paget was able to read and clone the information of the chips...


Integralis set to become the security arm of NTT

By acquiring the Munich-based IT security specialist Integralis AG, the Japanese telco giant NTT (Nippon Telephone & Telegraph) plans to become a major player in the world-wide market for managed security and identity management solutions. Integralis (511 employees, €167 million Turnover) will be integrated as a separate division within NTT’s Communications subsidiary (13,000 employees, €10 billion turnover). On Tuesday, NTT offered the Integralis shareholders €6.75 per share. Integralis’ shares had been trading for around €5, up from a low of €2.14 in February....


The flowering of the identity store

The Personal Data Eco-System (diagram by Iain Henderson and Drummond Reed) Another reason I really love Twitter: It takes you places you might never have found on your own. Take a recent post by xmlgrrl , a.k.a. Eve Maler of Sun Microsystems, a terse pointer to a posting by Iain Henderson of Mydex on entitled "The Personal Data Eco-System" which provides by far the best theoretical overview that I, at least, have seen on the true nature and function of personal data. The text is an abstract of a session Ian and his pal Drummond Reed of Concordance , who...


Parallels wants to bring SaaS to the masses

Just got back from my favorite neighborhood watering hole in Munich, the Cafe Wienerplatz, where I met with Soeren von Varchmin, who recently moved in next door after spending a few years in Seattle. Soeren is VP SaaS at Parallels , a company that describes itself as "worldwide leader in virtualization and automation software that optimizes computing for consumers, businesses and providers". His job is to bring together Internet Providers and Services Providers (ISVs) by providing a common plattform to provision, manage and integrate applications and services over the Internet. His...


My Twitter Top Ten

I know it's funny, but in fact it's me, by far the oldest guy at KCP, who is actually the greatest fan of Twitter. Perhaps if you don't have as much time left to waste as some of my younger colleagues you learn to appreciate abbreviation. Anyway, the European Identity Conference which ended yesterday here in Munich produced a bumper crop of Tweets which I have been browsing through this morning at my leisure (first time in a week I'v had any), and I thought I would share a few with those of you who do not yet fully appreciate just how powerful this new medium actually is. Summing up...


Where in the Cloud am I?

Recently, at a press briefing by German IBM boss Stefan Jetter who waxed enthusiastic about Cloud Computing, an elderly journalist rose and asked him a show-stopper: “Where are my data when they’re out there in the Cloud?” Jetter did a double take, but my colleague pressed on: “I mean, physically, where are they?” Of course, the answer is: On some nameless server somewhere, anywhere in a grid farm in Ohio or Dublin or… In fact, the usual answer is : Who cares? Well, for one the German privacy protection agencies. Passing data across national boundaries can be a federal offense not...


The Digital Knee

Since "Minority Report", where Tom Cruise toted a squishy bag full of spare eyeballs around to hold up in front of iris scanners, thus fooling the access systems, biometrics has been a buzzword, if only a minor one, but it has failed to catch on in a meaningful way. A few years back I speculated that this is because every existing biometric method has serious drawbacks . Fingerprints fade as you grow older, and some people don't have any because they are afflicted with a rare disease  called "Naegeli syndrome" or dermatopathia pigmentosa reticularis (DPR) that can cause vexing social...


Is SSO the key to the desktop?

I recently had a cup of coffee with a couple of interesting youngsters from Hamburg, Christian Evers and Philipp Spethmann, who have set themselves a truly impressive goal. They are out to wrest nothing less than the control of German desktops from giants like iGoogle, T-Online, Yahoo! & Co. And they believe the way to do this is by providing consumers a safe and simple way to log onto their favorite websites. Their company, founded two years ago with money from Ammer Partners, one of Germany's big venture funds (yes, there still are functioning venture funds over here;...


In Praise Of Sabbaticals

In early 2008, I asked my colleagues at Kuppinger Cole + Partner for leave of absence in order to take a "Sabbatical", a kind of timeout. No, not because of burnout or anything dramatic like that, but rather because distance tends to sharpen your perspective, and I was worried that I was getting too wound up in the nitty-gritty of Identity Management as a specialized field. As a more or less non-technical person, I had begun to believe that the issues addressed by this industry are much wider than many of us seem to realize. And in order to truly appreciate what is going on I felt I...

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