Event Recording

Interview with Kim Cameron

Day two of the European Identity Conference 2011
Very informal thing, Kim, your last working day at Microsoft was on Thursday. I understand.
That's right.
What's it feel like to be a free agent
Feels free. It feels feels, it feels great actually to, to have a bit of time to think it's a change
Here. I see you have met lots and lots of friends and acquaintances, long time follow travelers along the path to identity and access management. What has their reaction been?
Ah, well, I guess people are curious about what I'm gonna do and I guess what, what I'm sort of at this stage that I'm trying to figure out, you know, I read a book about decisions and the book claimed that to make a decision, you have to know what the criteria of the decision are. So first thing you have to do is decide on, you know, you have to decide on how to decide.
The first thing you have to do is write, is read a book.
First thing you have to do is read a book, but I read the book. Unfortunately I read the book before, so, so I can't use that to procrastinate. So anyway, now, now, now I'm just trying to decide how I would decide. And, and
So how is this Microsoft going to fill the void that you leave behind?
Well, I, I think that, you know, there, there are a lot of people there who, who share the ideas that I was basically expressing. And my hope is that those ideas will continue to, to, to be put in practice.
Is there a danger that identity management could sort of lose importance and relevance within Microsoft? I don't. So because you're no longer there
Push, I don't think it's a matter of personality as much as strategic necessity. So I, you know, I wouldn't have been able to do what I did if it hadn't been necessary for it to be done and, and it is necessary and identity's becoming more and more important. And we're really tremendously at, at the beginning of, of a tremendously complicated and, and, and deep technical change.
What's it, my impression that Microsoft is much more concerned at the moment with things like cloud and Asia and doing stuff like that. And identity management seems to take sort of back burner.
Well, I think cloud is identity management and I think a lot of people at Microsoft do get that.
I hope you're right. Asia is moving to the cloud, sorry. Asia is in the cloud already, but active that energy is moving to the cloud. So yes, there is quite a bit going on. It's just that my perception that people aren't talking about it that much in, in Redmond,
I think that, you know, I, I don't like to give away in information. I don't like to kiss and tell as we used to say when we were boys, but I, I don't think that I, you know, I don't think that's true. I, I think, I think people right up to the very top of Redmond have understood for a long time how important identity is to everything that's happening. And so, so I, I don't actually worry about that. What I worry about more are the very forward facing issues. I, I think that all of the things we've been trying to accomplish around claims and open identity and delegation are, are, are, are going to go ahead. They, the whole infrastructure depends on them, but around my, my concerns are around things like privacy and security. And Microsoft has had a, a very good record on that over the last number of years. And I, I certainly expect and hope it to continue, but I look at the industry as a whole and, you know, Microsoft is part of the industry. And so the trends that happen in the industry will affect Microsoft. And so, so that, that is a concern, I think not only should be a concern for me, but for, for everybody,
Of course, the industry of the identity industry has not been an uninterrupted string of successes. We have had spectacular failures, failures, ID cards, for instance. Do you think that the industry as a whole is on the right track at the moment?
Well, you know, when I wrote the laws of identity, what, what they really were about was how do you explain the failures and the successes? And I think that, that the principles put forward there are, are essentially correct and, and remain correct ID cards as they were proposed. For example, in Britain broke at least four of the laws of identity. And, you know, I have hared the world at, at length and, and probably too much about that. But so it, it doesn't surprise me that that that initiative went down the drain at all. I predicted it, or I didn't predict that the laws of identity predicted it.
What about Federation, which sort of, is being handled as an F word at the moment in the industry?
I, I see, I don't understand why you say that.
Well, because it's true. People actually are moving to a different, different set of, of, of buzzwords. People talked about Federation last year are talking about trust frameworks this year.
Well, they may, you know, talk is cheap. What are the customers doing? And if you look at say active directory Federation services, it's tremendously successful. And I assume that I'm not, I'm not that familiar with the computing products, but I'm assuming that if ADFS is, is successful, the com competition is too, and people are adopting. I mean, they have to, they, how can they, how can they go into the cloud if they don't federate between their enterprise and the cloud? So I don't, I don't know where this, the, the, the trust framework thing is being bandaid about in terms of consumer initiatives, but in terms of enterprise initiatives, I think it's clear that that Federation is definitely happening. Claims are happening, the great products like, or the really advanced complex products like SharePoint are all becoming completely reconstituted to take advantage of claims and are. And the whole thing is, is very deep and companies like Microsoft and Google and so on, who are building their services in the cloud, all realize that they can't do it without, without claims and Federation. So, so I actually think that that has been a great success now Federation in, in, or open ID. And so on, has been, has, has been less of a success. And I think that was also predictable.
The, the, the, the, the information card proposals were, were not successful in, in the sense that they weren't adopted by the large players. And I think that actually is a reflection of a deeper problem, which is the problem that there are no advocates for user-centric user in control experience there. I mean, there are no advocates and, and instead the, the large sites and so on are trying to look after bringing home the bacon, which is normal, but in the, in the, in the absence of advocates, the technologies haven't taken off. So now the question is, will user centric computing have an advocate? And I think that's directly tied into the problem of privacy and user control. So now the question is, will, will privacy have an Africa? And I think if you look around, you'll see through things like the Carrie McCain initiative in the us and various things that are happening in the European union around the, the, the, the more protections for users. I think those things will also go forward. And I think in that way, the we're ultimately gonna see, and users will demand a more user-centric approach. So it's more of a political than a, a technical issue.
The vice president of Isaac today at the show gave a speech in which he argued that placing the protection of the customer's interest in the forefront is actually in the best interest of companies. It's actually going to increase their bottom line, because it increases loyalty. It creates a relationship of trust between customers and, and companies. Unfortunately, companies tend to lose sight of that and concentrate instead on their bottom line in a more, more
Protective, in a more short term sense, short term way. Yeah. Do you think, I agree with
Companies will actually wake up to the fact that they should be the advocates of consumer.
Okay. When I say that, when I say there are no advocates, I should be a little more precise, maybe a lot more precise. There are many advocates inside each of the companies, but the companies right now haven't embraced the, that that as a central, as a, as their central motivation, that they're really fighting over market share. And they have to, you know, it's, it's necessary because it's, it's so competitive at this point. And they don't see that that is a motor of market share. So on the other hand, there are many people inside the, the Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, and all the others who understand that this user-centric stuff actually can be good. The user-centric advertising can be much more effective than shotguns, splattering of ads all over us, or, you know, profiling that, that alienates us. It makes us feel like robots are running our lives. So, so I think there's lots of people there set with, with ideas about this and that, you know, over time, my view is those things will come to the fore in certain companies. And those companies, as you say, will have an advantage, but it's not something we can't speed up the clock. Unfortunately, the clock goes at its own rate.
Is there some part of the puzzle still missing, or do we have all the pieces in place and just don't know how to arrange them?
Well, I think that we, we need to, we need, we need more, much more experimentation and research and, and, and proposals to, to find things that really, really resonate with the users, with the people. And so information cards, for example, were a first step I'm very happy with, with, you know, what they achieved, but they weren't the end of the problem. All right. And so we're gonna see stuff coming out. And I, I'm personally a believer that a lot of this identification stuff will happen through mobile devices. And so we're gonna see, I think over the next few years, really interesting developments in terms of mobile devices, amongst other things you can't type passwords into mobile devices. So, you know, finally the password, the password will commit suicide on the mobile device. We, we have to move towards a touchy, feely visual interface. So, so yes, I think that there is, there are many new things to, to that we will seek come, come forward and there's more work to be done.
Do you anticipate being part of this process, or are you going to enjoy the fruits of your life as a pensioner
As, as an old age pensioner? Well, I, you know, I certainly will enjoy some fruits, but yeah, yeah, no, I can't. How can I stop? It's it's so interesting. And so, so I'll be involved. I, I, I, you know, clearly I was in a position where I could have a lot of, of impact and, you know, I'm hoping that I can continue to, to provide insight. And as long as I can do that, I'll do it.

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