Friday, August 25, 2006

335 Identities (and counting)

I ended this week with a total of 335 Internet identities. I count any site that requires a username and password credential as an "Internet identity".

The new identities created this week included:

  • An account at Shannon Airport's Free Wireless - you have to creat an account in order to access the free wireless -- first place I've seen require that rather than just a click-through terms agreement. Interestingly, they also required email confirmation (and gave 15 minutes of temporary access in order to do the confirmation or would cut you off).

  • An account at which I was required to create in order to obtain a discount coupon for Hershey Park as my kids wanted to go there and the $8.00 discount off of the $45 entrance fee was worth it.

    The registration page had many fields of personal information that one could fill out, although the only required one was the zip code (other than name, email address and password).

Both of these were examples of what I would call identity overkill -- requiring identity when it just wasn't necessary. But they were in possession of a resource that I wanted to use, so I was willing to participate (although an enterprising young man like myself can easily see how to game the system and fake it, even with required email confirmation -- nothing stopping me from having many eamil addresses).

I think life would be better for everyone if sites only required the association of a user identity when they really needed it for the proper functioning of their site. If VisitPA really needed the zip code for tracking purposes, they could just ask for the zip code without requiring that the user create and "account". Similarly for Shannon Wireless (perhaps they wanted the account to enforce their bandwidth and time limits, but that could just as easily been done with mac addresses).

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